Get your council to go plastic free
There are lots of ways your local council can help reduce plastic in your community, from banning plastic cups and bottles in their own buildings and offices to supporting schools and residents to reduce their plastic use.
You can share this local authority Plastic Pledge with your council and ask them to take action to help beat plastic pollution.
The PLASTIC PLEDGE – local authorities helping end the scourge of plastic pollution
The following is based on contributions from Carol McGowan (former Leicester City Council), Chris Sherrington (Eunomia), Quentin Given (Tottenham & Wood Green Friends of the Earth), and research by Mike Childs.
We commit to taking action on the scourge of plastic pollution. We will do what we can as soon as we can within our limited resources. We will seek to secure more finances from the government, via charges on plastic manufacturers and producers.
Our PLASTIC actions include:
We will take practical action to prevent plastic pollution from our own operations and the premises and spaces we own through an audit to identify where plastic products are used; identify which of these can be replaced by more environmentally friendly non-plastic versions (e.g. bottled water, vending machine cups); and make the switch. We will also require those using our premises, parks, community halls and markets to operate to similar high standards. During tendering and contract renewal we will require action to minimise unnecessary plastic use in the services we contract out through, and where plastic is essential we will insist on recycled plastic in order to boost closed-loop recycling.
We will minimise plastic pollution from our local environment through taking tougher action on litter including identifying hot spots and targeted enforcement and banning balloon releases; provide drinking fountains and water bottle refill points; improve recycling services; and reducing micro-plastic pollution from tyres through modal shifts, exploring how changing road surfaces and markings could reduce plastic pollution; and ensure our drivers undertake greener driving training.
We will provide our residents with advice on how to prevent plastic pollution through working with local businesses and civil society to publish a directory on where alternative environmentally-friendly products can be bought or where reuse is available, together with advice on how to prevent plastic pollution from the home through better recycling and ways to stop plastic pollution from clothes washing.
We will help schools avoid plastic pollution through encouraging schools to sign-up to be Eco-Schools; support school children to audit plastic use in the school and develop their own action plans; phase out single-use plastic items in school catering contracts; and encourage schools to change away from synthetic plastic materials in school uniforms in favour of natural fibres.
We will track how much plastic waste and pollution is created in our local authority area so we can target our limited resources, we will need to work with others to identify how to do this, and we will use this measure to track our progress with the aim of eliminating plastic pollution from our area.
We will inspire innovation through awards for those that have innovated new approaches and technologies to reduce plastic pollution from our area. To do this we will work with the local media to invite nominations from schools, local businesses, council staff, civil society and individuals. We will particularly celebrate innovative approaches that could boost the economy as well as address plastic pollution.
We will collaborate with the Environment Agency to ensure protection of rivers and streams from plastic pollution including through exploring how to capture micro-plastic from surface drainage systems. We will work with business through the local economic partnership to reduce plastic pollution and boost plastic recycling for essential uses. And we will work with other local authorities and environment groups to push for the government to make the plastics industry fund this work.