Single Use Plastics Report
Councillor Evans and Chantal Lass, Sustainability Manager, presented a report to provide the Committee with an update on the review of the Council’s work to phase out Single Use Plastics (SUPS).
As part of the review, the team explored the background to the issue of plastics pollution. The review team have developed a set of recommendations for further research and activity for consideration by the Council, which they consider will help to reduce the Council’s use of single use plastics and more broadly reduce the Council’s environmental impact.
The review team was setup following the single use plastics motion at Full Council. The team considered how to eradicate single use plastics across Hastings but realised it was more realistic to present Hastings Borough Council as a model for the community and work to remove single use plastics across the organisation.
Procurement policy is a big opportunity to reduce single use plastics and the Council could ask the procurement hub to score suppliers based on single use plastics and other environmental criteria.
The Chair thanked Councillor Evans and Chantal Lass for their work and for producing a very powerful report.
Discussion moved on to engaging local businesses to reduce plastic use and encouraging the manufacture of biodegradable plastics. It was agreed that this review should be embedded into the future work of the Committee.
The Continuous Improvement and Democratic Services Manager acknowledged that the Committee can keep this review as part of its work programme if it wishes to do so. He also noted that should the committee agree the report it will then be submitted to Cabinet, accompanied by a management response to the review recommendations.
An amendment is suggested and agreed to recommendation 10, that Hastings Transition Town be added to show support for joint working.
RESOLVED that the following recommendations be forwarded for Cabinet consideration:
1. To review the Councils sustainable procurement policy and actions to support reducing our purchase of SUP products.
2. Local events – explore how to reduce the use of plastic cutlery, food containers and cups for drinks e.g. re-usable stackable cups, at large scale events in the town. Investigate other local authorities sustainable events guide e.g. Brighton.
3. Carryout an audit of single use plastics in the Council’s operational buildings identifying which items are our own purchases or part of our contractors services e.g. office cleaning and create a single use plastics policy for the Council.
4. The Business Improvement District – could initiatives be developed with the town centre BID to reduce the use of plastics in local businesses e.g. take away food containers such as polystyrene boxes & plastic straws.
5. Discussions were held around the viability of phasing out other single-use plastic inside Council offices, to meet the 2019 commitment as part of the motion to Council. Further analysis and consideration of alternative options should be undertaken, by consulting with services across the council to clearly identify where SUPS use is most significant, and how this might be achieved.
6. To review the Councils environmental Policy to make sure it addresses current environmental pollution issues such as the use of SUPs.
7. Find out what local businesses are doing and could do to support a plastics free Hastings and explore the potential to create a ‘green rating’ for local businesses like ‘scores on the doors.’
8. To create a sustainable event guidance note for local events which provides advice on eliminating single use plastics at events.
9. To find out more information about Newport Waste Savers Trust and how it is operated to see if there is anything that can be replicated in Hastings?
10. To promote the local Hastings Transition Town refill project.
11. For Councillors to research about the ‘Plastics Pact’ promoted by WRAP.
12. Can the Council promote and expand the water fountains available in town? Can these be highlighted on a tourist map?
13. Community beach cleans and neighbourhood litter picks – how else can the Council support these events?
14. To organise a visit to the Newhaven Waste to Energy facility for councillors.
The reason for this decision was:
As part of the review, the team explored the background to the issue of plastics pollution including where plastics waste in our oceans come from; understanding what happens to the plastic waste we collect in the borough; our actions to reduce single use plastics in the our offices; and grassroots community action.
The review team have developed a set of recommendations for further research and activity for consideration by the Council, which they consider will help to reduce the Council’s use of single use plastics and more broadly reduce the Council’s environmental impact.