Green amendment to council motion 14.12.17

18 December 2017

Current plastics recycling available in York is detailed in this poster here for you to check. Read on to find out about York Green Party's Amendment to a council motion last Thursday, 14th December 2017 - which was passed - well done councillors! Here is the video of Green Party policy-making, in action to reduce plastic waste.

Plastics recycling

Following David Attenborough’s Blue Planet programmes, everyone is more aware of the horrendous impact plastic pollution is having on ocean wildlife and ultimately on the health of animals birds and humans eating the fish. Every year, 8 million tons of plastic is going into the sea around Britain’s shores – when you think about how light plastic is, that’s frightening. In the UK alone we use 5 million plastic straws a day – how many are ending up in the verges, rivers and sea? All this is produced from the fossil fuels responsible for climate change. INEOS are developing fracking largely to secure gas - not to heat our homes but to use in the manufacture of plastics. Our amendment is to support concern about disposable plastic but also focus on cutting the predominance of oil-based take-away containers in York.

My examples perhaps need a little explaining – the ‘Freiburg cup’ (in Freiburg) available from over 100 outlets for a 1 euro deposit can be returned to any other outlet for sterilised cleaning and reuse. Some 15% get lost to the system, often as souvenirs, but then that’s great marketing for a sustainable city. Just imagine a similar approach with a YorCup, perhaps with the civic crest on it! Each time such a cup is used results in fewer disposable cups taking up space in litter bins, saving on litter and cleaning costs.

A small company in York called iamreusable is marketing ‘green’ reusable cups (other colours could be available!) plus metal straws, vegetable based veggieware containers and sporks (that will biodegrade) as alternatives to single use plastic. They are also introducing refillable water bottles – a cheaper alternative to buying bottled water. The council could pilot using these materials in our own café and encourage schools, old people’s homes, market stalls etc to follow suit. There may be other providers, but we could be taking a lead as part of One Planet York, then working with other partners to roll out our waste minimisation strategy across York.

The intention of this amendment is not to be prescriptive, but to point to potential low-cost options to reduce waste and litter and at the same time promote a sustainable image for York. Wouldn’t it be great if there we needed fewer litter bins because we have cut disposable packaging so much that they are rarely needed!

Cllr Andy D’Agorne and Cllr Denise Craghill