Oswestry councillor calls for cuts to plastics use

3 March 2018

Olly RoseCouncillor Olly Rose has tabled a motion calling for the "phasing out of unnecessary single use plastics (e.g. water bottles, straws, plastic cutlery) in all Council buildings and at meetings and events held by the Council."

Olly, who is one of five Green Party Councillors on Oswestry Town Council, is also calling on the Council to support local initiatives to reduce plastic use in the community, to investigate whether abandonment of single-use plastics can be part of contractual agreements with commercial organisations dealing with the Council and to investigate the costs of providing public drinking fountains to make it easy to refill water bottles.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has recently published a report that begins: "Cheap light and versatile, plastics are the dominant materials of our modern economy. Their production is expected to double over the next two decades. Yet 14% of all plastic packaging is collected for recycling after use and vast quantities of [it] escape into the environment. This not only result in a loss of USD 80 to 120 billion per year, but if the current trend continues, there could be more plastic than fish (by weight) in the ocean by 2050."

Please also support the "Do it for David" campaign, inspired by David Attenborough's "Blue Planet II" documentary, which aims to raise awareness and reduce the amount of plastic pollution that is entering our oceans.

Update 5 March 2018: The motion was passed unanimously at the Council meeting today.

Did you know that if you are a resident of Oswestry Cambrian Ward you will have the opportunity to elect another hard-working Green Councillor on 8 March? Find out more about the campaign to elect Rosie Radford.

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Full text of the motion

a) To call on Oswestry Town Council to lead by example in phasing out the use of unnecessary single use plastics (e.g. water bottles, straws, plastic cutlery) in all Council buildings and at meetings and events held by the Council.

Through many arenas there has been a great deal of information recently indicating the extent of damage to the environment and also to health caused by the production and use of these items.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicts that if we continue as we are there will by weight be more plastic than fish in the seas by 2050. At present a third of fish caught off the British shore contain plastic and there is now also plastic in our drinking water. Virtually all plastic ever made still exists in the environment. 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in the world's waterways annually.

It can seem overwhelming but only 6 months after introducing the 5p plastic bag charge, usage had dropped by 85%. So change can happen quickly.

b) To call on the Council to support local initiatives who are working to reduce SUP use in the community. There are moves to set up a local committee to coordinate the various groups.

c) To look at encouraging the abandonment of these products amongst commercial tenants, market traders and vendors at council events. To investigate the possibility of this being part of their contractual agreement.

d) To investigate the costs of providing drinking fountains in the town to refill water bottles. Potential suitable sites at the Cae Glas toilets and by the tennis courts.

There are a number of other UK Councils small and large pushing forward this agenda from Aberporth to Norwich and Bradford. France is banning all plastic cups, plates and utensils by 2020. Could Oswestry be one of these pioneering Councils?

Note: The Council have trialled not using bottled water in recent weeks that may assist discussions.