Plastic Free Scilly

''Together we can create a sustainable system for dealing with plastic because we all create, use, sort and recycle it.

We can elimate unnessary packaging, re-use plastics and ditch our throwaway culture''. - UK Plastics Pact


Work across the Islands

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust are leading the work to become 'Plastic Free Scilly' and the Council is supporting them in this mission.

For more information and to support the work they do, please visit

Refill in Scilly

There are lots of fantastic cafes and other establishments across the islands that welcome Refill (water bottles and coffee cups) in a bid to help reduce waste & the need for single-plastic. For more information & to find Refill in Scilly, download the Refill App

Balloon, Lantern and Streamers Release Policy

In September 2018 the Council passed and published a statement on Prohinbiting the intentional release of balloons, sky lanterns and non-biodegredable steamers on Council land and any events held by the Council on other land. 

Exract: Balloons and sky lanterns are hazardous to wildlife, livestocks, humans and property and can cause false-callouts for the Coastguard and other emergency services. Non-biodegradable streamers are also believed to represent a particular risk to marine life around the Isles of Scilly.

You can read the statement in full here.

Plastic Myth Busting

  • wise up on alternative plastic, unless you see hard evidence 
  • avoid single-use plastic
  • choose to reuse

The Government and the plastics industry aren't regulating the use of terms like 'bioplastic', 'biodegradable' or 'compostable' in relation to alternative plastics. This means there is nothing to stop some manufacturers using these terms to sell their products, something which many call 'greenwashing'. They dont need any evidence to back up this claim or under any obligation to provide evidence if challenged. 

Research shows that many of these products can only 'degrade' under very specific conditions that most shops and consumers won't be able to replicate. For example, coffee cups can't be composted in your home composters. It would require an industrial specialist composting facility of which there are very few in the UK - making it an expensive treatment to source for local authorities at the moment. Wet wipes which are deemed 'flushable' are another example. These are often tested for decompostion in a hot water environment and not in a sewer or salt-water where they will eventually end up.

All these items must be discarded as waste through the residual waste stream in your black bags for collection by the Council to reduce their impact on the environment. 

Other Issues:

  • biodgredable/compostable items encourage littering, especially 'biodegradable' dog poo bags. 
  • they are usually more expensive but have little difference, other than being seen to do the right thing
  • most alternative plastics used particularly by takeways outlets trying to do the right thing, end up in a litter bin. Refill is a much more sustainable alternative.
  • There is an established industry in place for recycling traditional plastic. The plastic recycling industry can't recycle plastic alternatives deemed 'biodegradable' - these items actually contaminate the recycling.

What is the best thing for me to do?

It is very confusing with all the information circling around and it is different depending on where you live (i.e. recycling requirements is different and access to services). Here in Scilly we encourage everyone to:

  • reuse and refill water bottles and coffee cups to reduce waste 
  • if you must opt for single-use plastic please ensure you choose plastic that can be recycled and then ensure it is recycled either at our 'On-the-Go' litter and recycling facilities in Hugh Town or via your home or holiday let.

Where can I get more information?

Home | Refill |

City to Sea | Connecting our actions to our oceans

The UK Plastics Pact | WRAP

Recycle Now | Where and How to Recycle