Labour welcomes  Single-Use Plastics Ban

Labour leaders in Bridgwater have welcomed the introduction of new rules which came into effect from October 1st which mean businesses across England will not be able to buy or sell certain single-use plastic items. The ban, includes:

  • polystyrene cups and food containers

  • single-use plastic cutlery

  • single-use balloon sticks

It applies to online and over the counter sales and apply to all business, notably retailers, takeaways, food vendors and the hospitality industry.

If they have not done so already, businesses are urged to seek alternatives such as:

  • Swapping plastic for bamboo or wooden cutlery for takeaway food

  • Swapping plastic for metal cutlery for inhouse guests

  • Swapping single use plastic plates or bows to re-usable alternatives that can be washed

  • Offering paper plates instead of plastic

  • Offering to refill customers’ water bottles or travel cups

  • Encouraging customers to bring their own clean containers for takeaway food

A spokesperson for Somerset County Council added “There are exemptions and this rule does not apply if these objects are used as packaging in shelf-ready pre-packaged food items. This ban compliments the existing restrictions on other single-use plastic items including plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers and the carrier bag charge.” More information about the ban can be found on the Somerset Council website.

Ban is ‘Long Overdue’

Cllr Kathy Pearce ‘Ban is long overdue’

Councillor Kathy Pearce (Climate and Environment Portfolio Holder, Bridgwater Town Council) immediately welcomed the Single Use Plastic ban saying “This ban is long overdue when the hazards, both in their manufacture from fossil fuels and the waste they produce, have been well known for ages.  Their proliferation and our reliance on them has grown over a relatively short space of time.They are not biodegradable and therefore, whilst they are designed to be used for only minutes, they can take hundreds of years to decompose causing unacceptable levels of waste, pollution, harm to wildlife and our health.There are alternatives and many ways that we can play our part in reducing our reliance on single use plastics.  For example, reduce waste in the first place – re-use what we can; look for products which use biodegradable packaging or are re-fillable;buy locally produced goods when possible; stop buying bottled water and re-fill your own bottles; do not buy packaged fruit and vegetables. Bridgwater Town Council introduced a Single Use Plastics ban for its cleaning and office products some years ago.  The transition to products which were re-fillable, local and less harmful to the planet was actually easy, once we got out of the mindset of contributing to the throwaway society. Everyone can do it.  Now is the time to act! “

Protecting the Environment

Cllr Mick Lerry speaking up for businesses

The ban, which  will be enforced by Trading Standards, was also welcomed by Labours Business spokesman and Mayor Cllr. Mick Lerry who said: “The introduction on the ban of single-use plastic is an important step in the protection of the environment, but the enforcement of this ban will be another matter. Customers will need to make sure that single use plastic is not part of the products they purchase. Many businesses know that the ban will soon be commencing, but have they made the necessary changes and adjustments within the manufacturing and retailing process of their products. Customers will also want the ban on single-use plastic to reduce the price of goods and not to increase the cost of living”.

Cllr Leigh Redman’a positive step towards a brighter future’

Ban is a ‘great idea’

Cllr Leigh Redman, Leader of the Labour Group on Somerset County Council, also supported the ban saying “I think the introduction of this ban across the country is a great idea, I know Somerset businesses will understand that every small action we take towards sustainability is a step towards a brighter future for our planet. The introduction of a ban on single-use plastics is a positive step towards reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans and rivers, reducing the impact on marine life.”

Cllr Brian Smedley ‘Keep focused on the climate crisis’

Focus on the Climate Crisis

Leader of Bridgwater Town Council, Cllr Brian Smedley (Labour Westover) said “While the Conservatives are backtracking on their green pledges in a desperate and shameful attempt to win whatever votes they think they can get out of that, the rest of us need to focus on the climate crisis and make sure we stick to our guns. But definitely not plastic ones.”

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