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Reading Council Plastic Free Pledge

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Reading last night pledged to go ‘plastic free’ and eliminate single use plastics from use within the Council.

The move follows a motion by Councillor Rachel Eden which was unanimously approved by fellow Councillors at a Full Council meeting yesterday (June 25th). By agreeing the motion Reading Borough Council has committed to ensuring that – wherever possible – single use plastic is eliminated from use within the Council as soon as possible. This would be achieved by:

How

  • phasing out the purchase of single-use plastic products through services commissioned by the Council where possible and as soon as practicable.
  • Bringing regular reports to future committee meetings, describing the Council’s plans to eliminate single-use plastic from the organisation, including a timetable for doing so.
  • Working with Reading’s businesses, community groups and residents to share advice, ideas and best practice on using sustainable alternatives
  • Working with schools to support the aspiration of Reading’s young people to eliminate plastic waste from our environment.
  • Seeking to work with neighbouring councils to tackle single use plastic use across the wider Berkshire area.

The motion highlighted that worldwide around 300 million tons of plastic is manufactured each year and half of it is disposable and ends up in our rivers and in the sea, and that oceans are expected to contain one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025. Plastics in the environment can release toxic chemical as they decompose which pose a danger to marine life and, through the food chain, ultimately humans.

Importantly, the agreed motion acknowledged that some single-use plastic products remain essential for providing care and support or to enable groups such as older people, people with disabilities and autistic people to live their daily lives.

Councillor Rachel Eden said:

“Children across Reading have been asking for action so I’m delighted Reading will now be one of the first councils in the country to go ‘plastic free.’ I know by working together, our community can make Reading an area where we can be proud to know we have eliminated unnecessary plastic use.”

Councillor Sophia James, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Neighbourhoods, added:

“Last year the Council, through its partnership with RE3, introduced recycling plastic trays, pots and tubs, in addition to plastic bottles, in Reading. It is so important that where people have to use single plastics we get them back into the system for recycling so that they don’t end up in our rivers and sea. The money produced for recycling plastics also goes into protecting public services for residents.

“Around one in five items that go into landfill are recyclable. If we can get more of those items into people’s recycling it will make a massive difference to the environment and to recycling rates, which saves public money.”

As well as the introduction of more plastic recycling in Reading, other local initiatives includes Reading Festival being free of single-use plastics by 2021 and community schemes like Refill Reading which aims to reduce the number of disposable coffee cups going to landfill by encouraging people to use reusable cups in cafes.