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Suffolk County Council vows to lead county fight against single-use plastics

PUBLISHED: 18:40 06 December 2018

Suffolk County Council is planning to reduce dependence on single-use plastics Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk County Council is planning to reduce dependence on single-use plastics Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Suffolk County Council has vowed to crack down on plastic use, and has voiced its plan to become a countywide leader in reducing waste.

Penny Otton put forward the motion against plastics Picture: GREGG BROWNPenny Otton put forward the motion against plastics Picture: GREGG BROWN

A motion presented to the authority’s full council meeting on Thursday, December 6 was unanimously passed, and outlined the intention to become an example to organisations in the county.

Among the measures are a commitment to work towards only sustainable or re-usable plastics in all council buildings, writing to the public on how to reduce plastic waste, to write to all MPs urging more to be done on curbing single use plastic and creating a “plastic free Suffolk network” of councils, businesses and other organisations.

Penny Otton, Liberal Democrat councillor for Thedwastre South who put forward the motion, said: “Last year we had unanimous support for our motion highlighting the issues with single-use plastics, with all councillors acknowledging the harmful impact they have on our environment.

“There is so much that we as a council can do. We need to encourage all other councils in Suffolk to join us in phasing out throwaway plastics.

Paul West said Suffolk needed to lead the way for other organisations to cut their own plastics Picture: GREGG BROWNPaul West said Suffolk needed to lead the way for other organisations to cut their own plastics Picture: GREGG BROWN

“We need to ensure when commissioning services and giving licenses to organisations and events in Suffolk that they are not allowing single use plastics. We need to improve opportunities to recycle wherever possible.”

The council had previously made a commitment to get rid of plastic cutlery in its canteen, which it has carried out, with Ms Otton describing the new motion as an additional step beyond that.

Conservative cabinet member for Ipswich, communities and waste, Paul West, said: “There is no doubt as a country and here in Suffolk as a county we must be leaders in trying to eliminate single use plastics and lead the way so we can help other [organisations] do the same.”

Labour’s Peter Gardiner called for work with schools as well to help create a longer term solution.

The council has a longer term goal of becoming signatory of the Plastic Free Pledge, with its involvement in the Suffolk Waste Partnership – a collective of Suffolk councils which works to improve waste management – being a vehicle to help develop recycling opportunities and cutting plastics at events.

A timeline on the measures has not yet been set out.

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