Tameside Council has unanimously passed a motion at full council committing to ending single-use plastic.
The motion pledges to end council use of single-use and non-recyclable plastics, except in exceptional circumstances, by switching to alternatives either as soon as possible or when contracts come up for renewal.
It also commits the council to working with local manufacturers, retailers and supermarkets to encourage them to reduce their use of single-use and non-recyclable plastics.
A third commitment is to an education drive to encourage residents to take responsibility for reducing the non-recyclable and plastic waste that they generate and giving guidance on how to change buying and waste disposal habits to achieve this.
The motion also calls on the government to commit to introducing a nationwide ban on single-use plastics and non-recyclable packaging by 2025 as well as to tackling microplastic pollution in UK waterways.
BBC One’s Blue Planet II documentary series recently highlighted the impact of plastic pollution on the world’s oceans with more than 100 million marine mammals being killed by plastic each year. Once in the environment, plastics take centuries to breakdown leaving a terrible legacy for future generations. It is estimated that, at the current rate, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the world’s oceans than fish in terms of weight.
The motion also highlights the potential of consumer power in bringing about change. If shoppers swapped products packaged in plastic for ones that aren’t, supermarkets and retailers would act immediately and would use other materials for their packaging. Buying fruit loose or in paper bags instead of in plastic punnets or trays could make a huge difference and some supermarkets have already swapped plastic bags for paper in their fruit and veg sections.
Councillor Chris Buglass, who authored the motion, said: “Plastic pollution of our rivers and oceans is one of the worst environmental issues of our generation and with 8million tons of plastic waste flowing into the sea each year we must act now – future generations cannot afford for us to wait. We must all - individuals, businesses, councils and governments - take responsibility for the waste we generate and change our habits to make sure that single-use plastics become a thing of the past.”
Councillor Allison Gwynne, Tameside Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “The environmental impact of plastic pollution affects us all and has become a major issue. But this is a strong and ambitious commitment that shows that Tameside Council is leading the way to reduce plastic waste and help protect the environment.”
The commitments on plastic waste are the first piece in a wider jigsaw of environmental policies being developed by Tameside Council.
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