Devon produces new strategy to reduce plastic waste

Devon County Council has pledged to phase out its use of the most polluting single-use plastic products within two years.

The authority’s ‘Plastics Strategy’ sets out how various single-use plastic food and beverage packaging and tableware, such as cutlery and cups, will be removed from council work locations by 2020 and how the county council will use its position and responsibility to raise awareness of the issues surrounding single-use plastics and encourage and support collective action across the region.

The first-of-its-kind strategy has received support from marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage ‘Plastic Free Coastlines’ campaign.

Roger Croad, cabinet member for Environmental Services, said: “The problem of marine waste washing up on beaches is growing worldwide. The UK has seen a 140 per cent rise since 1994, with around 5,000 items of plastic pollution now found per mile of beach. Our county boasts over 500 miles of beautiful coastline and we must do all we can to help protect it.

“As an employer we are committed to carefully managing our impact on the environment, and are constantly working to improve our environmental performance. We have been working hard to reduce the use of plastic in our workplaces, for example removing plastic cups and replacing bottled water with plumbed-in filtration systems. We also make sure that our staff have good access to recycling facilities, and are pleased that as a result around 80 per cent of waste from our County Hall and Great Moor House offices is recycled.

“This new strategy will build on our efforts and focus attention on the consumption and disposal of single-use food and beverage packaging and tableware. This type of waste is most prominent in marine litter and discouraging its use will greatly reduce the amount of plastics in the environment.”

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