Sustainable Woodstock

Sustainable Woodstock is a voluntary, not for profit, community group and our aim is to raise awareness and champion environmental issues in our community.

Working together, we believe we can support projects and campaigns to tackle these issues with a greater likelihood of success. We’re interested in raising awareness on issues such as waste reduction, recycling, and respect for our planet and believe local action is influencing change nationally and internationally.

We understand plastics are a necessary part of modern life. Single-use plastics (SUPs) were introduced in quantity in the 1980s when manufacturers introduced cheap and convenient products without a thought for the mountains of waste generated immediately after use. I sometimes hear “What about biodegradable plastic” but this is not the answer. Global minds are focussing on improving plastic manufacturing/recycling systems and this cannot come quickly enough. UK pressure groups and councils are realising they can’t wait and are trying to tackle waste locally by becoming a SUP free town.

While images of plastic waste pollution such as plastic bags, suffering marine life and the almost invisible smog of micro-plastics in our oceans have been in the news, what is frequently overlooked is the fact that plastic is predominantly made from fossil fuels, a product of the oil and gas industries, and consequently also influences climate change.

So what has Woodstock been doing? We’re certainly aware that trying to make a difference feels overwhelming but equally aware that local action brings about meaningful community change. Woodstock is hoping, no, planning to embrace our campaign to become a SUP free town and possibly the first in Oxfordshire. But, if we’re not the first, we won’t be disappointed in the slightest because it will mean we’re not alone in wanting to make changes!

So how did we get started with our campaign? We investigated how some coastal towns had already declared themselves SUP free. They had published a Toolkit * that can be applied to any town/area with just minor changes. Next, we pursued community engagement and support by publishing

in social media, community newsletter, our newsletter and by canvassing at community events. We appealed to the council at their May meeting and then

asked if a councillor would present a motion to the council at their June Meeting. It was encouraging to see that council members had already replaced their plastic water cups with a variety of non-plastic alternatives and I’m happy to report they unanimously passed the following motion related to single-use plastic:

‘To encourage and support action towards making Woodstock a single-use plastic free town by

a) promoting the work of Sustainable Woodstock and others aimed at reducing the presence of single-use plastic in the town

b) Leading by example through removing single-use plastic within WTC premises when practical

c) Naming a WTC member to represent the Council on the single-use plastic free town steering group currently being developed.’

What are we hoping for? We have an optimistic view going forward that collectively the town will make a difference by sharing good practices, making smarter purchasing decisions, finding better suppliers for businesses, schools, etc., finding a sense of town-wide camaraderie, recycling more and finally Woodstock gaining the status of SINGLE-USE PLASTIC FREE TOWN. And do you know there’s even talk of reconnecting a water fountain for people to refill water bottles!?

So now it’s down to everyone in Woodstock and all the other communities to work together to put their town on the map for all the right reasons. You can follow Sustainable Woodstock on Facebook or request an emailed newsletter by emailing us sustainablewoodstockuk@

* ToolKit

– Hilary Brown

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