Plastic waste is killing our planet and choking our oceans according to environmentalists, but what can we do in Mansfield to reduce our impact?
Mansfield District Council have agreed to look into reducing single use plastics in council activities, in a bid to be more enviromentally friendly.
Councillor Sonya Ward, Labour leader in Mansfield, proposed a motion to Mansfield District Council to review and reduce the use of single use plastic products such as bottles, cups, cutlery and drinking straws in all council activities.
Mike Robinson, director of economic growth at Mansfield District Council, said: “The council is currently developing a policy, which aims to reduce the use of single-use plastics across all Mansfield District Council sites.
“The council already encourages its employees at all sites to recycle as much waste as possible. New recycling bins introduced in kitchens and offices at the Civic Centre as part of recent improvement work have made this easier.”
The motion is similar to other schemes proposed across the UK, as the BBC announced they will ban single use plastics from their operations by 2020.
Coun Ward said: “I took this motion to council because single use plastics are increasingly recognised as a major problem for the environment. Lots of people became more aware of this after it was highlighted by the BBC’s ‘The Blue Planet’.
“We all use single use plastics, they’re convenient and cheap, but now it’s important we start recognising that we all need to make changes.
“As an authority I want the council to do all it can to reduce its use of single use plastics and to encourage recycling, which is why I took the motion to council.
“The government is currently looking to introduce a deposit-return scheme for plastic bottles, which is expected to be aimed at retailers, but I think there may be the potential for local authorities to deliver this too, and hope this will now be explored.
“All Councillors agreed with, and voted for the motion, and I hope we will soon see changes as a result.”
How can we reduce our plastic use?
It may feel like when you go shopping, everything comes wrapped in plastic, from fabric conditioner to fruit and veg.
However, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your use:
1. Carry a reusable bottle.
In the UK, we throw away over 35 million plastic bottles every year. Carrying a reusable bottle is a great way to cut your plastic use and save money.
2. Say no to plastic straws
Plastic straws are bad for our oceans. Next time you order a drink, think about whether you need a straw, and if you do, you can buy paper or reusable metal straws.
3. Use a reusable coffee cup
2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK, with less than 1 in 400 being recycled. Carry a reusable cup with you, as some cafes offer a discount on your drink if you use your own cup.
4. Avoid excessive food packaging
Whether it’s making different choices in the supermarket or choosing a different place to shop, we can all try and cut down the plastic we buy.
5. Say no to disposable cutlery
We’ve all been caught out in a cafe or at a train station when we’ve bought a salad or a yogurt but the only cutlery on offer is plastic. Whilst it’s hard to plan for every opportunity, consider carrying a spoon or fork in your bag or keeping cutlery in your desk at work.
6. Carry a shopping bag
Since the plastic bag charge was introduced in England, there’s been a massive 85% drop in their use. If you find it hard to remember, try a foldaway one that you can carry in your normal day bag.