Their Future, in Our Hands

We’re pleased to have been awarded funding to support and strengthen work in schools to help create a fairer and greener future. How will it be spent?

One of our aims is to connect and strengthen existing work in the town that puts people, place and planet first. Through our work with schools as part of our Plastic Free PZ campaign, we’ve seen a host of brilliant projects, initiatives and vision coming out of classrooms. Not just as a result of staff commitment … but directly from the children too. 

We knew we wanted to continue our work with young people and schools and take it wider than plastic pollution. We also knew that there is a shed load of amazing work already happening and we don’t want to duplicate or take over any of that. 

Over the last year or so we’ve held several school workshops on wider issues, for example working with young people to help create a transport vision for the town and also gathering feedback from children and people on what they’d like to see happen, to avert the worst effects of the climate and environment crisis we’re in. 

Now we’re super pleased to have received funding to work with all schools in PZ to better connect them, share the work they are all doing, what works, what doesn’t and identify any gaps where new amazing and impactful projects can grow. 

The most important part of this though is the kids. It’s their future after all. And that’s why they will have a central role in this six-month process; giving input, reviewing and helping us draw up a town-wide plan that every school is part of and is working towards. With each other and with support. Strength in numbers. And when you have that, you create a collective community voice that can start to bring about the change it wants to see. 

A HUGE thanks to the schools who have already worked with us. We’re looking forward to deepening the work, listening to young people and creating something that supports a better future for them. 

If you’re a teacher or a pupil and would like to know more drop us a line on 

Thanks to the Prince of Wales Charitable Trust for helping make this happen for our town. 

PZ Businesses Help Build Action Plan for the Town

One reason why Sustainable PZ was created was to help pull together all the amazing work that’s happening in our town to put people, place and planet first. Our local, independent businesses are the heart of our community and have been trailblazers nationally via the Plastic Free PZ movement.

We wanted to be able to help support the ongoing journey, and thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund, we have been able to launch a six month fully-funded program for businesses in PZ.

Launching on September 30th at the Hypatia Trust, we introduced to the Together For Our Planet (TFOP) workshop and had a great turnout of local like-minded businesses.

If you’ve not yet signed up to the initiative, it’s not to late. Just click here

Energy Workshop

Our first workshop for TFOP looked at Energy, with guest speakers and experts to help unpick the energy issue: the cost to businesses and the environment, consumption levels, and what businesses can do right now to mitigate.

The point of the workshops is to look at how we can be more resilient as a business community and get acting now to avoid more challenges that at heading our way.

How much energy we use and where we get it from is key to creating a fairer, more affordable and cleaner way of living, working and doing business in PZ. So, we came together to learn more about the energy problem, see what we can do right now and help that’s available and then discussed how we can work together to create a new way forward.

A big thank you to our whole panel of experts who came and spoke on this vital issue.

Transition Penwith, AMR Consultancy, Mat Green and Kevin Smith from Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN)  

Everything discussed in the workshops goes forward to shape a toolkit for local businesses – which they will also draw up with us at the end of the workshop series.


Our next workshop focused on transport and we had guest speakers who came along to show current transport projects & plans for the town, talk about future solutions and work out what businesses can do right now to prepare for continuing rising fuel costs and a low carbon future.

Tackling the transport issue is vital, on both a global and local level. On road transport is Cornwall’s biggest carbon emitter. We have to act now to reduce emissions from traffic by 80%, if we stand a chance of hitting net zero.

So, Cornwall Council came along to go through current plans and future opportunities for the town and this was followed up with a session from RideOn e-bikes on alternatives for local businesses. That included e-cargo bikes which could be a huge win in terms of short journeys, deliveries, laundry runs and more.

Scarlet Wines gave a case study on how they’re made the switch to e cargo and electric, with brilliant results. And there was much discussion over how Penzance can continue to lead the way when it comes to creating a town that is attractive and accessible to all … not just cars.

What’s Next?

We’ll be back in the new year with workshops on Carbon Accounting and why businesses will be required by law to do it, how you can do it and what it all means. Then we’ll look at Food and Waste … before we hold sessions to pull together all the feedback and actions drawn up from businesses at the workshops into a toolkit for the whole town.

Running alongside all of this we are trialing a Carbon Dashboard with some businesses in the town, which we will also reveal the results of in the spring as we launch the new toolkit and online hub for businesses in PZ.

If you haven’t signed up yet, it is not too late… Click this link to join the fully-funded program, learn more about the challenges coming our way, how we can mitigate them and have your say on a town wide business action plan >>

Huge thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund for helping make this happen for our town and supporting businesses to be more resilient

Long Rock Tops the Sewage Spill Charts in 2022

St. Michael’s Mount should be looking majestic. Not surrounded by disgusting water from a sewage overflow.

Brown sewage in the water around st michael's mount These shocking photos of Mounts Bay, Cornwall were taken earlier this year. Fast forward to September and it’s revealed the Long Rock CSO has been the worst in the UK for spilling sewage into the sea so far this year.

This isn’t acceptable in the 21st Century. This is why we encourage everyone locally to download the Safer Seas App so you get real time alerts for when the pipe goes off. You can also email South West Water direct and make health reports through the app.

It’s why we also support and take part in Surfers Against Sewage campaigns on water quality to #EndSewagePollution. Find out more and email your MP here

You can also check your local water quality on the Surfers Against Sewage map here:

Lots of us grew up swimming in sh*t in Mounts Bay. 50 years on, it’s time things changed.

St Michaels mount surrounded by brown water from sewage overflows into Mounts Bay
A surfer in the sea surrounded by the sewageMounts Bay with sewage among the blue waves

📸 Thank you to Thomas for the photos.

How to Try Organic on a Budget

How to Try Organic on a Budget

To celebrate Organic September, we want to share some tips for eating more organically on a budget.

The month highlights the hard work that goes into growing whilst working with nature and encourages us to think about how our food and clothing can be more in tune with the planet.

Although organic food can be more expensive, staples like rice, pasta and pulses often only differ in price by a small amount and buying directly from farmers through box schemes can help too.

Sometimes organic isn’t always available either. So here’s a list of tips for eating more consciously on a budget and upping your organic content:

🌱 Shop local & refillable– when possible buy your fruit and veg loose. There are multiple options in PZ where you can take your own containers to fill up on things like spices, pasta etc. while supporting your local independent businesses, including The Weigh Inn, The Granary and Archie Browns.

Check out Refill PZ for all the local options available and a map with their locations.

🌱 Eat seasonally– it’s easier on your wallet and reduces your carbon footprint as food doesn’t have to be shipped as far.

🌱 Try growing your own– whether on a windowsill or a worktop, on an allotment or in raised beds, growing your own herbs & vegetables at home is a great place to start, and can help you save money.

🌱 Don’t be afraid of the freezer– keep a lookout for reduced organic items – freezing them as soon as you get home will prolong their shelf life massively and reduce the amount thrown into Cornwall’s incinerator.

🌱 Sign up for a veg box scheme – they’re a great way to try organic. They offer wide varieties of seasonal fruit and veg with many schemes offering introductory discounts.

Check out some local options:

Alsia Cross

Trenow Fields

Growing Links

Nancelvearne Market Garden

Cornish Food Box

National providers Riverford

🌱 Bear in mind supermarket organics can be cheaper – but are more likely to be wrapped in plastic, which is full of chemicals and poses a massive waste issue.

More information and tips can be found on the Soil Association website.

Golowan Festival: 5 ways we reduced its plastic impact

💚 Together we made *real* progress on reducing single-use plastic at Golowan Festival’s Mazey Weekend. There was a marked difference in plastic pollution this year. 🥤

A MASSIVE thanks to everyone who refilled, reduced and responsibly got rid of rubbish. Here’s five ways we reduced the much-loved Penzance festival’s plastic impact…

1. Amazing Plastic Free Penzance volunteers did regular rubbish picks, stopping anything getting in the sea.

2. Venues across town offered refill cups… leading to visibly less rubbish in these patches.

3. Many traders followed the Plastic Free Events charter and didn’t provide single use plastic.

4. There were no balloon sellers. Given the gusty wind, that will have made a massive difference to plastic pollution.

5. There were no goldfish in plastic bags at the fair. Phew. Poor things. These ‘prizes’ are bad for plastic pollution, and the poor animals.

Can you help us make an even bigger difference? Your donations help fuel our community projects, making a real difference in our town. If you’re able to donate, please chip in.

Thank you all – not least the Golowan Festival organisers and volunteers who are so supportive and work hard alongside us to help reduce impact. Onwards. Let’s do even better in 2023! 

Golowan is back: let’s reduce its eco impact

Golowan is back …

And we’re so excited. It’s always brilliant to see so many of the community out together celebrating mid-summer and keeping traditions alive. With tens of thousands due in Penzance over Mazey weekend, we’ve been working again with the Golowan team to try and cut the eco impact of the festival.

Back to where it started

We first started working with the Golowan team to reduce single use plastic in 2018. We introduced refill cups at all the main venues as well as the water refill point for the parade, to get rid of plastic water bottles. It was our first year, balloon sellers weren’t happy and a couple of venues decided to hold off on the reuse cups … but with just those two refill actions we saw a positive start in the reduction in single use plastic. A thousand items, if we look at plastic water bottles alone.

In 2019 we upped the game and the town did too. The refill cup scheme rolled out to more venues and the town’s Plastic Free Events Charter was sent to all traders and contractors. With awesome results. The refill cup meant 33 THOUSAND less single-use throwaway cups were used over the weekend. Pretty much every food stall used cardboard boxes, paper bags and sold canned drinks rather than plastic bottles. The only balloons on sale were from the street vendors (who can just rock up) and plastic ‘tat’ on stalls was significantly down. The fireworks were plastic free too.

We upped waste management in 2019, with more and bigger recycling bins … and our volunteer Prom Plastic Pick team did a great job of picking up any stray rubbish making its way to the ocean.  

The result was clear. For us volunteers at Plastic Free PZ it was pretty emotional. There was a visible difference in plastic pollution and rubbish on the streets. We couldn’t have been more grateful to everyone.

Then two things happened …

First, Covid. Bit of a game changer. The not so big thing (or life-changing) was that Plastic Free PZ grew into Sustainable PZ.

What did those things mean? Obviously a three year gap until the next Golowan. But also the opportunity to widen our work with the festival to look at its wider eco impact. Which is what Sustainable PZ was set up to do. Take the plastic free journey on into wider actions.

So, where is it at now?

Right now, after over two years of restrictions and fear, we’re just happy to pick up where we left off. There is still so much to gain from making sure refill cups and water bottles are used. That the water refill point is installed, that traders and contractors get the Plastic Free Charter and that we support community info on how we can minimize our impact as festival-goers.

We didn’t think it was the time to go hard on making everyone bring their own cup from home. Or crack down on beleaguered businesses over their ‘compostable’ take out cups/boxes (PS: compostable plastic = Greenwash to the MAX. Read why here)

We do think it’s time to get back on track with the basics to fight plastic pollution. Because things have taken a hit. We need to get back on the journey. Then we can take the next step.

One thing that is different is more info around encouraging people to reduce car travel over the weekend. It doesn’t help that there’s a rail strike, but with cheap bus fares being tried out in the area and car share apps like the Pasty Connection to hand … it’s doable.

The Future

After the 2019 festival we made a decision with the Golowan team that we weren’t going to keep ordering refill cups at the same level each year. They are a step in the right direction. But they are not a fail-safe solution. Afterall – we’re just creating another ‘thing’ in the world. And whether it’s plastic or not actually makes no odds. The real solution is to reuse what we’ve already got, not create something new. So, the next step was to put work into getting people to bring their own festival cups from home. A 2018 or 2019 Golowan Cup … another festival cup. (it’s always ace to see a Tropical Pressure cup presented at a Golowan bar) Then we’d gradually reduce the number of cups ordered for venues, so they still had back up for people who had forgotten their cup until the habit bedded in.

We also identified that we wanted to do more work around waste management in terms of collecting food waste and upping glass and can recycling as people swapped to those alternative.

There were conversations about toughening up the Event Charter … which was always a first rung action. The intention was always to use that as a basis to build and it was time to do that with a stronger expectation on single use cups and bottles.

We needed to do more education around why single use compostable cups aren’t an option and more awareness in the community about how we can all help. Number one: starting to normalise taking your own tub and cutlery in your bag for takeout food.

And in 2020 – with our new Sustainable PZ hat on – we started looking at transport to the festival, suppliers and traders and the wider picture to see where eco impact could reduce.

That all ground to a halt. With everything else. But Golowan is back. We are back. We’re looking forward to getting back on the plastic reduction journey … and then getting back to the future.

Be planet friendly this mega Bank Holiday

There’s celebration in the air as we get ready for the four-day bank holiday to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee …

When it comes to big celebrations and extra holiday, it’s easy to drop some of the things we do day-to-day to cut impact. We can see it as a ‘one off’ or want to cut ourselves some slack. Which is fair enough! From buying last-minute food in single-use plastic, to running around in the car, or leaving waste by the bins for someone else to clear up; it’s an easy trap every one of us can fall into.

We’re creating a community that puts people and planet first. To do that we need to start taking our good intentions into the one-off situations too. So here are a few ways to keep up momentum …

Reduce, Reuse, Rethink

Refuse, reuse, rethink is a good mantra to take out with us. Reducing what we use over the weekend means there’s less waste to get rid of.

Taking a refillable water bottle, coffee cup or festival cup along with us will cut waste, and chemicals. Plastic isn’t just a waste problem, you see. It’s a huge health problem; for us, the soil and the ocean.  

We can also pledge to avoid as much single use wrap as possible when buying party food or food at events. Bring a plate is a winner for events you may be organising, taking a refill tiffin tin or tub is perfect for festivals.

And when it’s all done? Grab any rubbish that’s left and take it home where you can recycle or reuse as much as possible. Bins in town and at the beach will be chocca – guaranteed. If a more of us take our own rubbish away, it helps.

Getting Around

Woman cycles in a summer dress

If you’re heading further afield to celebrate or need to travel around, how can you leave the car at home? For one … you won’t need to be the designated driver! Bus fares have just been significantly reduced in Cornwall to encourage people onto public transport. Timetables are also improving so they match train and other bus services.

If it’s a shorter distance to go (we go on a 5K radius at the mo’ at SPZ HQ) could you bike it? Cycling round PZ is getting easier with more bike lanes and low or slow traffic zones plus a whole network of bike shelters, thanks to the Healthy Streets initiative.

It may be that you have mates heading to the same place; give them a call and see if you can lift-share? Check out Pasty Connection, the local lift share app too (they actually give out free pasties to festival goers who use the service.)

Food for Thought

Food and drink are central themes for extended bank holidays. In addition to looking at reducing supermarket packaging, we can look at buying locally produced ingredients and treats. If we’ve got time and inclination, making some dishes at home ourselves. It’s a money saver as well as a waste saver.

Food waste is a biggie here though. Gauging exactly how much food is needed is tricky, but it’s something to bear in mind to try and reduce leftovers. If there are leftovers, there are some great local organisations looking to redistribute food in the community to help combat food poverty. Check out Growing Links and the Community Larder at Redwing plus other groups on our Signposting page.

How can our excess help even up access to food locally?

Community …

People around a long dinner table with reusable glasses

… it’s what it’s all about. Time with each other and in our communities, whatever they look like to us. At Sustainable PZ we are working to connect and create a stronger community, which is inclusive, open and accessible to all. Working on a shared mission to try and do things in a better and kinder way to each other, and the place we live.

Community events are a great way to do this. By choosing to do things a different way to reduce our own contribution to pollution and waste, we can influence others around us. Tell your mates what you’re doing to cut impact, instigate lift shares or a cycle-in, take a few festival cups in your bag for friends who’ve forgotten theirs.

From small acorns and all that … we can influence more than we think by our own small actions and decisions.

Have a great time.

To keep up with our latest news and updates, follow us on social media for more (Sustainable Penzance on Facebook and Instagramn).

We’ve got 10k Lottery funding to support local business

BREAKING NEWS! We just received National Lottery funding from the Together for Our Planet fund to support local businesses. 💚🙌🌍

We’re thrilled to bring almost £10k to Penzance, Cornwall to support businesses in the face of a host of challenges.

The resilience programme will help local businesses adapt and cut their environmental impact through resources, workshops and events … and we’ll help them monitor their carbon reductions too.

Want more information on the business resilience programme for Penzance, Cornwall? Join our email list and we’ll be in touch.

Huge thanks to the The National Lottery Community Fund for helping us support local businesses like this.

Thanks to Love Penzance for the image.

Sewage surrounds St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall. Take action.

St. Michael’s Mount should be looking majestic. Not surrounded by disgusting brown water from a sewage overflow. Sick emoji with green facePoo emoji

Brown sewage in the water around st michael's mount These shocking photos of Mounts Bay, Cornwall were taken over the weekend. This is what happens to the ocean where we live when Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) go off.

This is why we support and take part in Surfers Against Sewage campaigns on water quality to #EndSewagePollution.

Find out more and email your MP to take action with Surfers Against Sewage.

A surfer in the sea surrounded by the sewageMounts Bay with sewage among the blue wavesSt Michaels mount surrounded by brown water from sewage overflows into Mounts Bay

You can also check your local water quality with SAS’s Safer Seas Service:

📸 Thank you to Thomas for the photos.