Date issued: 15 October 2018
Colchester Borough Council has committed to phasing out single-use plastics and is launching its own campaign, Colchester Plastic Pledge, today to actively encourage residents and other local organisations to follow their example and make their own online pledge to reduce their use of single-use plastics.
The BBC’s Blue Planet 2 and more recently Drowning in Plastic brought home the volume and types of plastics being used worldwide, and the impact this has on wildlife and the environment – with *eight million tonnes of plastic being dumped in the oceans every year.
Around the globe every minute, a million plastic bottles, a million disposable cups and two million plastic bags are bought and, if attitudes and behaviours don't change, it’s estimated that annual plastic production in 2050 will have increased by 500%.
The Colchester Plastic Pledge campaign is part of the council’s drive to help the environment by reducing waste and, in particular, plastic waste. It also supports the Council’s Better Colchester campaign which aims to make Colchester a better place to live, work and visit.
Making a pledge is quick and easy – all local residents and organisations need to do is visit www.colchester.gov.uk/colplasticpledge and choose a pledge or create their own. Residents can also choose to enter a prize draw competition where they could win prizes to help them with their pledge such as reusable bags and bottles. The council will also be periodically publishing a list of all the organisations who have made a pledge to reduce their plastic footprint on their website and providing a resource pack to help them share the news of their pledge.
The campaign hashtag #colplasticpledge has also been created and is a great way for residents and organisations to share the news of their pledge and the wider campaign on social media and encourage others to take part too.
In March, the council made its own pledge to phase out plastic straws and cups at all its sites, replacing them with paper alternatives; and any new catering/bar contracts which come up for tender now also include a requirement to cut single-use plastic. Steps being taken already are having a significant impact, for example, removing plastic cups from hot vending machines at council offices, means 17,760 less plastic cups will be used each year and changing the plastic straws at Leisure World Colchester equates to 13,000 less plastic drinks straws each year. Other sustainable steps already taken at the council-owned coffee shop in Leisure World Colchester include using biodegradable food packaging and cutlery.
Councillor David King, Portfolio Holder for Resources, said “I am delighted that the council are launching this campaign to encourage local residents and organisations to be more plastic aware and commit to reducing their use of single-use plastics. I know some local organisations are already taking positive steps towards achieving this, and Wivenhoe House Hotel who have already developed a Plastic Patrol are a fantastic example of this.
“Recent media about the devastating impact of plastics on our environment is striking a chord with people who are now beginning to consider the products they use and buy. This campaign offers local organisations the opportunity to show others, including customers, what steps they’re taking to be more environmentally responsible.”
Councillor Martin Goss, Portfolio Holder for Waste, Environment and Transportation, said: “Public awareness of the impact that plastics are having on wildlife and the environment has grown significantly over the last year. Colchester Borough Council is continuing to phase out its own use of single-use plastics and is keen to spread the word and encourage others to do the same to help the environment.
“Imagine the difference our borough could make to this global issue if all those who live and work in the borough pledged to make a change to reduce their use of single-use plastics.”
Oliver Brown, General Manager of Wivenhoe House Hotel, said: “We are delighted to commit to The Colchester Plastic Pledge. Early in 2018 we launched our Plastic Patrol and Wivenhoe House Hotel has made considerable strides in reducing single-use plastic throughout the hotel. Working with staff and suppliers we are constantly looking for more ways to decrease our impact on our environment.”