As part of our commitment to the environment, following a Cabinet decision earlier this year, we will be phasing out single use plastics where possible from across the South Gloucestershire Council estate by the end of 2020.
In order to achieve this, we will produce ongoing action plans across all council functions, which will include strategies for removing single use plastic from the South Gloucestershire waste stream and looking at our work with suppliers and contractors.
This work will involve gaining an understanding of what this commitment means for each service area, along with the identification of the single use plastics currently being consumed and who may be affected. We will then build a plan to meet the 2020 commitment, implement the identified changes, and put a robust monitoring and audit trail in place to ensure that we are delivering against our commitment.
We will also help raise awareness across South Gloucestershire of the impact of single use plastics and we will be providing leadership and encouragement for local schools and partners to follow our example.
Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources Cllr Rob Creer said: “Everyone now knows how harmful single-use plastics are to the environment and the devastating pollution already caused across the globe. The recent removal of single use cups and plastic cutlery from our catering facilities was an important step forward in tackling the issue of unnecessary waste plastic and we’re pleased to be able to widen the approach to look at the removal of single use plastics across the council more generally.
“We all individually have a duty to help tackle this crisis and it’s appropriate that South Gloucestershire Council take the lead, be ambitious and commit to doing something that will genuinely make a difference. Hopefully this commitment will also help inspire other organisations, large and small, to follow suit and look at alternatives to plastic.”
To help achieve these aims we will apply the waste hierarchy of alternatives:
• Eliminating – can we do without the items/redesign so it does not require plastics
• Reusable – can we use reusable alternatives (e.g. our approach to removal of plastic cups)
• Renewable – can we use more sustainable materials from renewable resources
• Recyclable non-plastic – use materials that have a higher recycling rate – e.g. glass, paper etc
• Recyclable plastic – where single use plastic is necessary due to legislation and regulation (e.g. food or medical gloves, food preservation), we will aim to use plastics that offer the highest opportunity to be recycled.
This commitment follows the agreement by Cabinet in July 2018 to remove all single use disposable cups and plastic cutlery from all the Council’s office catering facilities.