Council making 60% cut in single-use plastics as half a million items removed from use
PUBLISHED: 07:30 06 November 2020 | UPDATED: 11:20 06 November 2020
More than 527,000 single-use plastic items are being eradicated from use by Ipswich Borough Council, according to a new report – a 60% reduction.
The authority made a pledge in January last year to undertake an audit of its plastic use and come up with alternatives where possible.
A report published for the council’s executive on Tuesday found that just 10% of its single-use plastics were necessary or unavoidable across its work – which includes its Grafton House office, parks maintenance, waste collection and events and theatre teams.
MORE: How Ipswich Borough Council is addressing its carbon footprint
A host of measures have already been carried out while others are ready to be rolled out once delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic have been resolved.
In total, the plan will cut 527,000 items out of the council’s annual 873,000 single use plastics consumed – a 60% reduction.
By weight, that equates to a 78% saving or more than 8,000kg per year.
Councillor Phil Smart, portfolio holder for environment at the council, said: “We have identified that we have been able to remove 150,000 disposable drinks cups, removed from places like theatres.
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“We have removed 19,000 cable ties by using various reusable alternatives.
“4,800 single use water bottles have been removed by issuing our mobile workers with the reusable type of water bottles.
“Beside the saving in plastic, quite a lot of this has turned out to be cost neutral, which surprised me, so that is an example for others to follow.”
Other measures include changing plastic milk cartons to glass bottles which will save 3,594 plastic milk bottles per year; replacing 750 tree guards per year with wooden posts; swapping most plastic cable ties to string, metal or reusable alternatives and using refillable cleaning product bottles to save 600 plastic bottles there.
Plastic cups at bars and in offices are changing to reusable polycarbonate alternatives.
Council leader David Ellesmere said: “I think it is a really impressive bit of work that has been done here. It gives an indication about just how much plastic is used or had been used without anyone really thinking about it.
“I am really encouraged about the significant difference that we have managed to make on this, so I think we need to congratulate all the officers involved in putting together this bit of work and making a real difference to our environmental footprint.”
The council has already declared a climate emergency and is working on a host of measures to be more environmentally friendly, such as replacing its fleet of vehicles to electric-powered alternatives and making energy efficiency improvements to its stock of council homes.
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