Reigate & Banstead Borough Council is seeking to eliminate single use plastics (SUPs) from its operations and facilities, and instead use reusable, compostable or recyclable materials.
SUPs are plastic items that are used only once before they are discarded, such as plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, water bottles and most food packaging.
Many SUPs can’t easily be recycled, because of the polymers used.
Following agreement at an executive committee in October, the council will look to reduce its use of SUPs in the services it delivers, as well as its own facilities, stationery and vending. It has also committed to work with its suppliers to follow suit.
Examples identified by the council of changes it can make include using bio-degradable cups and plates, rather than plastic, and using paper and card stationery rather than plastic document pockets.
The council is also looking at a rating system to highlight local businesses and organisations that are doing the most to reduce their plastic consumption and increase their recycling rates.
To support the drive, the council aims to work with Surrey Waste Partnership to increase awareness among residents and businesses of the impact of single use plastics and the alternatives available.
Cllr Alex Horwood, executive member for neighbourhood services, said:
“Last year’s BBC television series The Blue Planet II graphically brought home the problems caused by plastics entering the worlds watercourses and oceans and the polluting impact it has on wildlife and our environment.
This is an important issue for our communities, so we want to do all that we can to address the issue locally, starting with limiting our own use of single use plastics. I look forward to working with partners, residents and businesses across the borough to make a positive impact on the environment for future generations.”
Cllr Natalie Bramhall, executive member for property and assets, said:
“We have already begun to reduce disposable plastics in our buildings, including the Town Hall, Earlswood Depot and the Harlequin Theatre. We’ve also met with key contractors to discuss how they can reduce their usage.
To make sure we, and our partners and suppliers, are doing all we can to tackle this issue we are carrying out a thorough review of the plastics we use and will put together an action plan to reduce them, the results of which will be reported back to the Executive in due course.”