Mixed response to council’s plastics plans

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Plastic bottles. Pic © JMU Journalism

Wirral Council’s plan for a Single-Use Plastics (SUP)-free policy is now in effect, but not everyone is optimistic about it.

The council decided to take action on the use of plastic because only 40% of the material is recycled domestically in the UK. This leaves eight million tonnes of plastic waste in the oceans, damaging marine life and entering the food chain.

In addition, plastic contains toxics that affect human health.

Wirral’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, Councillor Anita, Leech said: “‘Single-use plastics pose a real threat to our environment, both locally and globally and I’m so pleased to introduce this policy.

“Wirral has a rich maritime heritage thanks to the seas and rivers that surround it, and they should provide a constant reminder as to why we need to tackle this issue.

“I look forward to putting this policy into practice and working with our local communities to protect Wirral’s environment for the generations to come.”

Wirral Council wants to raise public awareness about the environmental dangers of SUP to encourage more people to recycle. It is also working with organisations such as the NHS, supermarkets and local groups to persuade them to be free of SUP.

YouTube: Megan Tattersley

Campaign group, Surfers Against Sewage in Wirral, says it welcomes the initiative, but believes companies need to see the changes done properly first-hand by the council.

Rachel Yates, who works for SAS told JMU Journalism: “Getting the local council on board is vital. They act as consumers and influencers. Showing unity on an action can install confidence and determination to succeed.”

Wirral Council is taking steps by making procurement processes, services and events held on its property free from SUP.

However, another group, Blooming Eco – a Wirral business that create sustainable cleaning products using natural ingredients – also questions the work of the council.

A spokesperson for Blooming Eco told JMU Journalism: “There are a lot of dedicated groups, individuals and businesses in Wirral working very hard on the issue, but actually getting the council to deal with anything properly is a constant struggle for them.

“I haven’t seen any evidence of the council working with the NHS or supermarkets, so I’d be interested to know how and what they plan to do.”

The council says it aims to be free of SUP within two years.

Blooming Eco says two years might just be achievable with other people doing work and hurrying the council along.

About Megan Tattersley, JMU Journalism