Council vows to eliminate single use plastics by 2023
Written by The Newsroom on June 9, 2019
A council is working towards banning single use plastics from its sites and facilities in time for a major borough milestone.
Newcastle Borough Council has welcomed the Government’s 25-year plan to eliminate avoidable plastic waste – and a recent resolution of the European Parliament endorsing an EU-wide ban on a range of single-use plastic items.
The authority is aiming to eliminate all single-use plastics within council-managed premises and facilities by 2023 – the 850th anniversary of the borough’s charter. And it also plans to encourage other organisations based at its Castle House headquarters to adopt a similar goal.
At Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting senior councillors heard about the progress to date in preparing a draft Single Use Plastics Reduction Strategy.
The council’s Economy, Environment and Place Scrutiny Committee is due to discuss the project at a meeting later this month.
Councillor Trevor Johnson, cabinet member for environment and recycling, said: “The borough council believes that in support of the national efforts we ought to lead by example and take all measures to reduce plastic waste.”
Councillor Mark Holland, cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Heritage who put forward a motion on single use plastics at a meeting last year, said: “It’s something we all voted on at full council and I’m really delighted to see this report. In that respect we have made some progress in creating a draft strategy on single use plastic reduction.
“Members want to take more action to reduce our impact on the environment. I look forward to receiving comments from the scrutiny committee and feeding back their comments.”
The draft strategy presented to the cabinet meeting said: “The Government in January 2018 pledged to work towards eliminating all avoidable waste by 2050 and all avoidable plastic waste by end of 2042, but this strategy aims to reduce and eliminate where possible single use plastics as soon as possible within The Borough Council of Newcastle-under-Lyme.
“Most of plastic currently produced can be recycled. However, the extent to which plastics are recycled depends upon various technical, economic and logistical factors.
“As a valuable and finite resource, given that it is derived from fossil fuels such as oil and coal, the optimum recovery route for most plastic items at the ‘end-of-life’ is to be recycled, preferably back into a product that can then be recycled again and again. It is estimated that 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced globally, with 6.3 billion tonnes of this becoming plastic waste.
“Only 9% of plastic is recycled, 12% is incinerated, resulting in 79% of the plastic produced to date either ending up in landfill or the natural environment. Single Use Plastics (SUP) make up a significant proportion of this total.
“SUP often also referred to as disposable plastics, are commonly used for plastic packaging and include items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These include, among other items, grocery bags, food packaging, soft drink bottles, straws, containers, coffee vending and water cups and cutlery, condiment sachets (and) plastic waste sacks.
“The council recognises that discarded plastics, including non-recyclable food containers, cups and straws are a major environmental pollutant and of detrimental impact to Newcastle-under-Lyme.”