THE Tivyside Plastic Free Community Group in Newcastle Emlyn has recently met for the first time and is hoping to make the town a plastic-free zone and eventually be awarded the Green Gown Award.

The man behind the idea, Kwame Salam, recently organised a Castle Clean-up, where families, business people and those living in the locality got together to clean the grounds around the town's castle.

Around 20 people gathered for this first clean-up event, and Kwame, who has worked on projects alongside Keep Wales Tidy for more than 10 years, hopes this is the first of many.

He said: “If everyone can make one small change then we can make a difference.

"I’ve taken part in several coastal clean-ups over the years and thought as I live here, we need to start stop using plastics in the town as the plastics all end up in our rivers and eventually our seas.”

The Pelican Inn has already started on its plastic free campaign getting rid of straws, takeaway coffee cups, plastic pint glasses, shot glasses, takeaway cutlery and containers.

Winnie's@Number 11, the Riverside Cafe, The Bunch of Grapes, and the Plough are also following in the Pelican's footsteps but more businesses are asked to get on board.

“It’s essential we all work together on this. Eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in our seas every year and it’s estimated that in 20 years time, weight for weight, there will be more plastic in our seas than marine life," said Kwame.

“Once you start making changes, there really is no end to it. You can now buy conditioner in a bar rather than in a plastic bottle, toothpaste now comes in a container that can be composted and toothbrushes can be made of bamboo that lasts years.

"We are a Fair Trade town and wouldn’t it be great to get individuals, businesses and schools working together so we can also be awarded the Green Gown Award for sustainability excellence.”

The Tivyside Plastic Free Community meets at the Pelican every first Friday of the month and works with members of the Newcastle Emlyn Traders Group. All are welcome.