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Taking Action on Plastic Waste

Public opinion on the use and disposal of plastics is clearly changing. Thanks to recent TV programmes and news reports, we’re all now becoming aware of the toxic impact of plastics on the natural environment, the oceans, wildlife, and further down the food chain, on people.

Only around half of the 35 million plastic bottles sold in Britain every day are currently collected for recyclingIt’s clear that urgent action is needed. At least 8 million tonnes of plastics already leak into the ocean each year — which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one refuse truck into the ocean per minute – and this is expected to double by 2030 if no action is taken.

The Tory Government is finally starting to show interest in the issue of plastics – but their plans lack ambition and commitment. The Green Party is calling on them to go much further – to bring a plastics ban forward and implement a bottle deposit scheme now.

Consumer pressure plays an important role here. By choosing not to accept ‘single use plastics’ or the unnecessary plastic packing of food products, we can all take a stand. In response, companies are now starting to design plastic waste out of their supply chains, as shown by the recent commitment of Iceland supermarket to have plastic-free own brand products within six years.

Locally, initiatives such as the Refill scheme, will help to reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles, by encouraging cafes and other ‘refill stations’ to top up customers’ own reusable bottles.

Green Councillors will be taking motions to the County and District Councils in the coming months to agree action on plastics and support for local businesses, whose products and services encourage reuse and recycling, to reduce the amount of plastic which ends up as waste.