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Council backs bid to reduce plastic bottle pollution

Chris Satori

It's estimated that about 35 million plastic bottles are used and discarded every day in the UK. 

A motion to encourage more residents and businesses to do their bit to reduce the number of plastic bottles ending up in landfill and the sea has been carried unanimously by Lancaster City Council at their meeting on Wednesday. 


The motion, which was proposed by Labour councillors Andrew Kay, Ronnie Kershaw, Oscar Thynne, Claire Cozler and David Whitaker, read:

“Council notes the amount of plastic that ends up in landfill and in our oceans, and is a growing hazard to marine life. Every year millions of single use plastic bottles, nationally are disposed and estimated only 7% are recycled. Council also notes the fact that 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK – 10,000 in just 2 minutes. To protect the environment and in furtherance of our Clean and Green Places priority under the Corporate Plan, Council resolves to;

  1.  Promote public awareness of the issue and take steps to reduce plastic bottle use. This could include our partner agencies in primary health care, and local education.
  2.  Request officers to prepare a report on the practicalities and costs of installing drinking water fountains at key city centre locations in Morecambe and Lancaster.
  3.  Support a scheme where our local food and drinks provide refills or free drinking water
  4.  Investigate the viability of the city council launching a promotional Lancaster refillable water container to sell at tourist outlets.
  5.  Work with businesses and other organisations to promote the use of reusable coffee cups including investigating the viability of a Lancaster district reuseable cup, and encouraging businesses to use genuinely recyclable or eco-friendly cups.”

Council added two more clauses, namely:

  1.  Officers be asked to refer back to the 2007 Lancaster City Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee report on pollution in Morecambe Bay and, given officers' comments on workload, to ease the burden on them
  2.  A working party be established to oversee the motion comprised of councillors, retail representatives and officers as appropriate.

Cllr Kay, who crossed the Council floor from Green to Labour earlier in this year, said: “Millions of plastic bottles are used by people in the UK every day and then immediately thrown away. Although they can be recycled, only around 7% of them are turned into new bottles.  Most either end up in landfill or in the ocean where they pose a real risk to marine life and they can find their way into the human food chain through the fish we eat. 

“While recycling is to be encouraged, reducing use of these bottles in the first place is the most sustainable solution. We can’t solve this problem single-handedly as a council but we should look at how we can make a difference by raising public awareness and working with local businesses and partner organisations.”