SWINDONIANS are being encouraged to go plastic free this month as part of a global initiative.

Plastic Free July is being backed by local groups including Swindon Climate Action Network (SCAN), Plastic Free-Living Swindon, Refill Swindon, Ecobrick Swindon and Let’s fight Pollution! and aims to reduce the consumption of plastics in the town.

Ben Beller, an organiser for SCAN and co-ordinator for Plastic Free Swindon, said: “This challenge is really to get people in Swindon involved. We are organising a number of events this month to encourage people to reduce their consumption of plastic and raise awareness.

“But it is not only about plastic, we use a lot of things that we don’t actually need.

“It’s a very useful exercise and enlightening to the extent of plastic use around us. “

The challenge was first launched by the Plastic Free Foundation in 2017 and millions of participants from across the globe joined the campaign last year.

He added: “We launched Plastic Free Swindon last year at the start of Plastic Free July 2018 with a litter pick with the RSPCA. It was very positive and important to start this new campaign in Swindon.

“There are different people involved in this campaign. Some local people who took the challenge last year wrote blogs to share their experiences and to help and encourage others.”

There will be a wide range of events throughout the month to encourage people to stay away from plastic.

This includes litter picks, the mural painting in the town centre – My Town, My World – and many more.

As part of Refill Swindon, there will be a photography competition for people to show their own perspective on plastic.

Ben added: “We don’t get feedback from people, but we get engagement. A lot of people were involved in our events and we hope there will be even more this year.

“We will be working with the council to find solutions. We are only volunteers, but we are doing as much as we can to help.

“Something that came out from the plastic campaign is the Nude Foods shop (in Old Town), which helped reduced the amount of plastic. It’s all about working together.”

Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for South Swindon Sarah Church said: “I’ve done it last year and this year I’m challenging myself to make a permanent change that will benefit me and the planet.

“ It’s all about using the right material. I’m always asking myself which plastic is necessary and which one is unnecessary.”