Urgent action is needed to tackle the enormous quantities of single-use packaging waste, such as plastic bottles and coffee cups, which are thrown away every day, say local Lib Dem Councillors.
The Lib Dems are leading calls for a 5p charge on non-recyclable, disposable coffee cups and a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and other drinks containers. Councillors of all political parties backed the proposals at a meeting of B&NES Council this evening.
Council also supported the long-term goal of Zero Waste, endorsed local anti-plastic campaigns, called for local businesses to participate in drinking water refill schemes and encouraged proposals to reinstate and create drinking fountains.
Councillor Paul Crossley (pictured) commented:
“The quantities associated with single-use packaging are truly staggering. Billions of items are disposed of every year. Some are recycled but we are still looking at enormous amounts that go into landfill. Most takeaway coffee cups, for example, are not recyclable. This is an incredible waste of energy and also of money; Councils and Council tax payers shell out millions on landfill taxes every year.
“Plastics often make their way from landfill and litter into our seas and oceans, where they persist and can harm marine life. I’m sure we have all seen horrifying videos of the giant garbage gyres and of sea birds or turtles which have died with their stomachs full of plastic. As a diver, I have witnessed first-hand how a plastic bag appears similar to a jellyfish underwater. Broken down plastic particles are even entering the food chain.
“As a society there is a lot we can do to discourage single-use packaging. The successful 5p plastic bag charge proved that it doesn’t take much to change behaviour. As soon as we see something as a resource, rather than rubbish, we are much less inclined to bin it. Water bottle refill campaigns and coffee retailers who give a small discount if you use a reusable cup are obvious ways to encourage alternatives.
“I’m delighted that this motion gained support from all sides of the chamber and I am encouraged that colleagues called for us to go further still. Let’s hope that our community can help to turn the tide on waste.”
Here is the text of the motion, which was agreed by Councillors: