Green councillors in Exeter have gained unanimous support for a motion pledging Exeter City Council to become a ‘single-use plastic-free’ authority by the end of 2018.
According to recent research, eight million metric tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans each year, endangering marine life and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that by 2050 the weight of plastic in the oceans will exceed that of fish. There is also a growing understanding of the risks posed to human health by toxic chemicals present in plastics.
Councillors have agreed to make Exeter City Council a ‘single-use plastic-free’ authority by the end of 2018, including an end to the purchase and procurement of SUPs through the ECC supply chain and ending the sale and provision of SUP products, such as bottles, cups, cutlery and drinking straws, in council buildings. The Council will also investigate the possibility of requiring pop – up food and drink vendors at council events to avoid SUPs as a condition of their contract.
The motion, proposed by Green Councillor Chris Musgrave, also commits the Council to work with tenants and operators in commercial properties owned by Exeter City Council to support the phasing out of SUP cups, bottles, cutlery and straws and re-usable and affordable food containers are available for sale in public markets and to work with festivals organisers to create policy in which single-use ‘disposable’ plastic cups are replaced at all city festivals with reusable or deposit scheme cups. The aim is that ultimately this will become a condition for obtaining a licence for large scale events.
Cllr Musgrave said: “Councils can play an important part in the fight against the eight million tonnes of plastic waste that end up in the world’s oceans each year. Exeter does well at recycling some plastics through its Materials and Reclamation Facility operation, but much plastic doesn’t get recycled, is totally unnecessary and hugely damaging to our environment.
“This motion gained cross-party support. We can now make Exeter single-use plastic free. We must do all we can to prevent our children inheriting a world where the weight of plastic in the oceans exceeds that of fish.”