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Plastic Free Business Champions lead the Way to Gaining Plastic Free Status for Stonehaven

By bellmannews / May 20, 2024
the word Stonehaven made from plastic litter and set out on grass at Mineralwell park

By Marion Montgomery

Stonehaven is on the cusp of gaining ‘plastic free’ status from Surfers Against Sewage thanks to three businesses who have recently been awarded as “Plastic Free Champions” –Godsman Graphics, Lou Sells Preloved Labels and Bayview Apartments.

These forward thinking businesses were quick to get behind PLASTIC FREE STONEHAVEN’s campaign in demonstrating their commitment to sustainable business practices.  Although all very different, these businesses have taken steps to reduce their use of single use plastics and encourage others to get involved. 

Plastic Free Stonehaven is a community group working towards gaining Plastic Free status from Surfers against Sewage by working with all members of the community to reduce the use of single use plastics in the town.  The community Group’s Steering Group is the Stonehaven Town Centre Improvement Group comprising representatives from Aberdeenshire Council, Stonehaven and District Community Council, Stonehaven Business Association, Stonehaven Town Centre Partnership, Horizon Group, Men’s Shed, Paws on Plastic and local councillors. 

Plastic Free Stonehaven itself comprises a small team of: Councillor Sarah Dickinson, Fiona Basford and lead, Marion Montgomery, who is also founder/chair of environmental charity Paws on Plastic SCO51306, who run all the activities.

Godsman Graphics was the first Stonehaven business to receive the Plastic Free Champion Award at the end of February.  As a small business owner, Denise Godsman, tries to operate sustainably and found the process of becoming a Plastic Free Champion very straightforward.  

Denise signed up online, pledged to remove three pieces of single use plastic from her business and following the online dashboard and toolkit, submitted evidence required to demonstrate achievement of her pledge.

Firstly, she committed to stop buying bottled water in favour of a reusable bottle, refillable at home.  Secondly, printed products for clients such as business cards or flyers are presented in cardboard packaging rather than plastic boxes or wrapped in plastic film and thirdly, all client files are securely stored online rather than in paper filed in plastic poly pockets and folders. 

As Denise says, “These are very small changes but when added together can have a big impact. I would encourage all local businesses to get involved – you don’t need to be a big business to make a big difference.”

LOUISE McINTOSH from LOU SELLS PRELOVED LABELS was also delighted to get involved with the Plastic Free Stonehaven initiative.  Said Louise, “The very nature of our business promotes the importance of reusing and recycling and we have always limited what plastic we use and anything that comes in gets repurposed in other areas of our business to reduce our waste. It is so important for everyone as a bare minimum to do a little to help and initiatives like this are so helpful in publicising just how easy it is to make a difference.”

The most recent business to achieve the Plastic Free Champion Award is the BAYVIEW APARTMENTS. Owner, CLAIRE JESSIMAN stated, “As the owner of beachfront holiday rental properties and a regular participant in the monthly beach cleans, I am acutely aware of the critical need to reduce single-use plastics. From the outset, we have implemented several initiatives to minimize our plastic footprint. These include providing reusable coffee cups and shopping bags, which empower our guests to cut down on single-use plastics during their stay. In our bathrooms, we’ve opted for refillable full-sized toiletries instead of single-use miniatures, and we apply the same principle to our cleaning products. Additionally, we provide a toybox filled with beach toys, allowing guests to borrow and return items instead of purchasing new ones.

We take an active role in waste management by offering clear recycling instructions in our welcome books. We also detail the monthly beach cleans and the ‘Take 4 for the Shore’ initiative, encouraging our guests to join us in these vital environmental efforts.”

These three businesses are leading the way in demonstrating Stonehaven’s commitment towards achieving plastic free status and there are 10 more signed up having made the plastic free pledge.  The race is now on to see at least 3 more to achieve the award as at that stage Stonehaven itself, having completed all other 4 elements of the award –

1. gaining support from Stonehaven and District Community Council,

2. having a Steering Group comprising representatives  detailed above,

3. running events – monthly community beach cleans which have proved extremely popular with local people plus other cleanups with community groups and schools plus events encouraging recycling.

4. gaining the support of 20 community allies – groups and organisations throughout Stonehaven, incuding Mackie Academy, who have helped to promote the campaign in the community.

Plastic Free Stonehaven Lead, Marion Montgomery is delighted with the campaign’s progress – I’d like to thank these 3 businesses for getting behind our campaign and encourage the others already signed up to take the final steps to log their actions and gain the Plastic Free Champion Award.  Businesses sharing ways in which they are reducing single use plastics are so useful – and the great thing is that so many actually save us money.  I’d encourage everyone in Stonehaven to get involved. 

The response by the people of Stonehaven has really been amazing.  We have huge numbers of volunteers turning out in all weathers for our community beach cleans, removing waste from our beautiful beach which is fantastic to see.

Gaining 3 more Plastic Free Champion businesses is the final step on our journey to gaining Plastic Free status for Stonehaven – we can’t wait to present more awards and encourage all our wonderful local businesses to get involved!  We would love to support them in their efforts.”

To join us, search for “PLASTIC FREE STONEHAVEN’ on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram via the links below.

Plastic Free Stonehaven runs monthly beach cleans on the first Saturday of each month. The next one is on Saturday , 1st June 10am – 11am. All welcome. Meeting at the Craws Nest at 10am. All equipment will be provided but if you have your own gloves &/or litter picker please bring them along.  Children are very welcome but must be accompanied and supervised by an adult.



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