Lewes Town Council and Green United spearhead a pilot scheme to cut back on single-use plastic this Bonfire

Lewes Town Council is working with Green United and local pubs to pilot a reusable cups scheme that they hope is the first step towards a single-use-plastic free Bonfire.  

Inspired by wish from school children for the future of the town to include less use of single-use plastic, at this year’s Bonfire night, which this year is taking place on Saturday 4 November, pubs in Lewes have agreed to serve customers from a reusable plastic cup. As long as it has the standard markings and measures that pubs need for their licenses customers can drink out of their own reusable cup and not a wasteful single-use plastic one.  

This exciting pilot scheme was first suggested by Green United, a group of young people in Lewes, supported by adults, coming together because of the climate emergency. Every year, the Environment First team at Lewes District Council pick up 5-7 tonnes of waste after Lewes Bonfire night.  

One member of Green United said: “Plastic Free Bonfire Night is our idea that aims to reduce the use of plastic cups during Lewes’ famed bonfire celebrations. By doing so, we can reduce the amount of plastic waste generated during the event and promote an eco-friendlier way of celebrating. It’s a small change, but a big impact”.  

Lewes Town Council were inspired to find out how to make this idea a reality. A Task and Finish group was created to pilot a way of starting to make reusable cups the norm for Bonfire.  

The group identified that this would not be an overnight transformation, and people would need to change their habits on one of the busiest nights in the Lewes calendar. A step in the right direction would be cutting out the use of single-use plastic cups in local pubs on the night.  

They met with the Environment First team from Lewes District Council, and the local Pubwatch group, who promote best practise for all local publicans, as well as researching other similar schemes. The landlords agreed that even on one of their busiest nights of the year they wanted to cut single-use plastic and agreed to the idea of serving customers in reusable cups. 

This simple move has been seen to reduce waste by up to 40% at other events, and the Lewes Town Council group are excited to see what impact this has and how they can build on this scheme next year.