Councils across the South West consider ditching single use plastics

6 January 2018

Green councillors across the region are putting forward motions on the reduction of single use plastics. The motions ask councils to:

  • Promote their towns as a major plastic reducer.
  • Ask cafes to use paper and not plastic straws.
  • Encourage people to carry refillable water bottles and, longer term, consider a water fountain in the centre where they can be refilled.
  • Ask people to refuse plastic single use coffee cups and encourage food outlets to offer a biodegradable alternative and advertise a willingness to fill people's own cups.
  • Encourage traders to stop offering plastic bags and replace them with paper one, to pack take away food in biodegradable materials.
  • Campaign for people to avoid products with micro beads and to only flush paper down their loos. Not flushing wet wipes and cotton buds and disposable contact lenses down the loo would reduce plastic in the ocean and help the town's sewage system.

The campaign originates with Surfers against Sewage, and with the film "Plastic Ocean" and "The Blue Planet" on TV it is a great time to get people on board. Single-use plastics have become an issue of particular concern in recent years, as the catastrophic effect of plastic waste on marine wildlife has become clear, and concerns have grown about plastic waste entering the animal and human food chain.

Mendip District Council passed a motion on single use plastics in December, committing to phase out single use plastics in council activities. Green councillor Shane Collins, who proposed the motion, said "We hope to arrange a series of exhibitions in the markets towns of Mendip showing off the alternatives to single use plastics and encourage local businesses to go 'No Single-Use Plastics'. In the meantime we can all ask our local cafes and pubs to go 'No Single-Use Plastics' and encourage other Councils to do the same." (More on the Mendip motion here.)

Single Use Plastics motions have also been presented or passed by councils in Glastonbury, Frome, Penzance, Torridge and Bideford.

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