City Council pledges to become free of single-use plastic by 2023

Nottingham City Council

Nottingham City Council is pledging to stop using single-use plastic over the next four years as part of its new Council Plan.

Action includes looking at ways to reduce the use of plastics at events such as Splendour, Goose Fair and Riverside Festival, promoting the use of refill bottles and food containers and replacing recycling bags with wheelie bins.

A voluntary Plastics Taskforce led by the council’s Energy Services team will address the actions needed to help the council achieve its goal. The move follows huge public concern about the environment and the impacts of plastics in oceans and natural landscapes, and the council wants to lead by example.

The activity includes promotion of the successful Refill campaign in Nottingham, encouraging local businesses to become a free water refill station. The scheme has received great feedback, with many businesses signing up to join the online app. Another step is the local launch of a national scheme called Long Live the Lunchbox, planned this summer. The campaign, run by Global Action Plan, is aimed at council buildings and other catering outlets across the city, to promote the use of lunchboxes rather than single-use plastic for food on the go.

Other moves include the council’s waste collection team starting the process of getting rid of the orange recycling bags for apartments in the city. This is a long procedure as the team have to negotiate appropriate solutions, making sure they do not reduce the ability of residents to recycle, and are in line with the management of each apartment building individually. The council has also recently banned single-use plastic overshoes in its leisure centres.

The council is working to encourage behavioural change by educating its workforce, building interest and raising awareness with new initiatives and competitions. Free hot drinks for employees with a reusable mug, and sustainable goodies from local businesses such as Shop Zero have been rewards for those taking part. At the same time, the Plastic Taskforce will continue to research and engage with different parts of the community, including schools and faith groups.

Getting rid of single use plastics across the authority is a big task and will involve auditing the extent and purpose of single use plastics across the council by taking time to understand the usage of certain products, and the common behaviours of employees. This is an important first step to tackling the issue, helping the council learn what is most likely to make a lasting difference.

Deputy Leader Sally Longford, Portfolio Holder for Energy, Environment and Democratic Services, said: “I have been working with various teams to address ways in which we can become less reliant on single-use plastics. This is not a simple task and each area of the council will have its own priorities to be considered. “We are determined to do our bit to respond to the climate emergency because as a responsible large employer we can have a big impact. We also want to lead by example and show others what they can do to improve their impact on the environment.”

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