SOLIHULL council is setting targets to go ‘single use plastic’ free within a year – after 1.5million items including bags, knives and folks were bought last year.
Following calls by Green councillor Ben Groom, which we reported last month, the authority is considering removing all plastic packaging and tableware by 2020.
The council could also actively encourage recycling at its Manor Square offices, and remove single use plastics from council events.
Procurement rules may also be changed to limit the level of single use plastics coming into the council.
In a report to the council’s controlling Conservative cabinet, director of communities Dave Biss said: “A council audit showed over 1.5million single-use plastic items were purchased. The top five items were plastic cutlery, food packaging, cups and lids, and food preparation gloves.
“The catering division procures the most of these items, as it delivers services to a large number of schools.
“Encore Café uses a limited quantity of items, having already eliminated some plastics, for instance plastic straws, and with a limited takeaway business.”
He added: “Not leading by example on this issue would risk damage to the council’s reputation and will impact on the council’s ability to demonstrate sustainability best practice.”
The move comes after months of public pressure against single use plastics, including from the ‘Blue Planet’ effect. The 2017 David Attenborough BBC TV series which brought to light the issue of marine plastic waste and its harm to marine life and the environment.
A number of councils have considered going plastic free but the first in the UK to introduce such a policy was Penzance Town Council in Cornwall.
‘Pastic-free’ status is granted by the green charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) which was created to combat plastic pollution on the Cornish coastline.
Since then the movement has gone nationwide with a number of councils in the UK applying to be granted the charity’s coveted ‘plastic-free’ status.
The council believes the costs would not significantly change, but ‘potential actions… may require additional resources.’
Plastic cutlery is to be replaced by metal and wood alternatives, and drinks will be served in biodegradable cups.