Cornwall Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Public Protection is calling for business and residents to join forces with the Council and other organisations to move towards ridding Cornwall of single-use plastic.
The call to action follows the request for retailers to introduce “plastic-free” aisles and the extension of the 5p charge on plastic carrier bags to all retailers in England.
Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection Sue James said the Government’s announcements were a step in the right direction but that doing it dreckly was not going far enough. Councillor James hopes residents and businesses of Cornwall will want to lead the way for the rest of the UK
“I’d personally like to see the end to single-use plastics. Imagine if we could be the first county in the United Kingdom to stop the use of single-use plastic – making a real step change to protect our beautiful environment and playing our part to reduce the harm to our surrounding seas. I will turn my attention first on Cornwall Council’s estate and services but hope residents will join me by influencing their local communities and town and parish councils”.
Cllr James said through Cornwall Council’s partnership with Clean Cornwall we will invite Cornwall businesses to come together to discuss what can be done to eliminate the use of plastic in Cornwall.
“Penzance is already a pioneer in this area and recently became the first town in the UK to be awarded plastic free status as part of a campaign run by Surfers Against Sewage. The town has shops, cafes and visitor attractions reducing single-use plastics and residents taking part in beach cleans. This is a conversation I want to see spread across Cornwall.
“Less plastic waste means less to dispose of, which saves money and resources, and it’s better for the environment and wildlife.
“I’d like to see all local producers ensure they only use plastic packaging where there is absolutely no alternative and ensure that what they use is easily recycled.
“The more we can do to support the local community to reduce the use of plastic in the first place, the more we will keep Council costs down for residents. This is a real opportunity for local businesses, producers and supermarket chains in Cornwall to make Cornwall plastic free.
We are really proud of our environment in Cornwall – it’s one of our greatest assets and we need to do all we can to protect it from plastic pollution. The results of a recent recycling survey showed that 91 per cent of Cornwall’s residents felt that it was very important that Cornwall’s environment was protected. This is a key issue for people and we need to stand up and take action.
“In Cornwall, last year households recycled 3077 tonnes of plastic but threw away 2095 tonnes (within their weekly rubbish collection bags). That means 41% of plastic created by households wasn’t recycled that could have been!
“I’d like to urge residents to think about the products they buy and the packaging that comes with them. Could you choose a version with no plastic packaging or ask your local retailer to reduce their plastic waste? It all helps,” she said.
Cllr James said China’s recent decision to impose a ban on ‘foreign waste’ as part of a drive to upgrade its industries highlighted the importance of all local authorities looking at more sustainable ways to manage waste by helping to change the behaviours and practices of businesses and consumers.
“While waste from Cornwall is not sent directly to China, new approaches to Resources and Waste management have momentum around the world. Whether plastic waste is sent to the UK, Portugal or China, it’s not sustainable for any local authority to keep managing increasing levels of plastic waste, the costs of which are borne by the taxpayer,” she said.