Agenda item

Notice of Motion under Council Procedure Rule 4.5(l)


Consideration was given to the following Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor Hook and supported by Councillors Connett, Dewhirst, Keeling, Nutley and Rollason at the Full Council meeting on 22 February 2018 and referred to the Executive for consideration.


 This Council notes with concern:


·         That 300 million tonnes of new plastic is made each year, half of which is for single use plastic such as packaging and convenience foods. In many cases, such as plastic straws, takeaway food containers and coffee cups, there are practical alternatives available that are either reusable or sustainable.


·         That in 2016, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimated that by weight, there could be more plastic in our oceans than fish, as soon as 2050. As plastics are durable and strong they will stay in the environment for up to an estimated 600 years. (Columbia University).


·         That marine plastic leads to coastal/offshore dead zones, entanglement, death through ingestion, toxic transfer and, once degraded into micro plastics, contamination of the food chain... including our own. We are quite literally eating the plastic that has ended up in our seas.


Council welcomes:


·         Moves towards Deposit Return Schemes


·         The success of the "Plastic Bag Levy" introduced by the Coalition Government of 2010-15, which has lead to a 90% reduction in plastic bag usage.


·         The success reported from councils both in Devon and around the country in reducing plastic waste and improving recycling figures by the introduction of a three weekly residual waste service.


Therefore this council commits to playing its full role in reducing plastic waste, specifically:


·         That the council will undertake an audit, within existing resources, of single use plastics used by the Authority and seek to replace with sustainable or renewable alternatives wherever practical.


·         That the council will play its part in educating the public about plastic waste, specifically by including information on reducing plastic waste in both online and written materials.


·         That the council will introduce, following appropriate trials, a three weekly residual waste collection scheme to encourage plastic recycling ( as well as all other recycling) and thus start to improve our recycling figures which have been flat lining for far too long.


·         That the council will use its best offices to work with all other local authorities in Devon to achieve a Devon wide consensus to see a similar system implemented by all collection authorities within the county.


·         To write to both our members of Parliament and the European Parliament, and to the secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, urging them to consider legislation and regulations which will reduce the amount of single use plastic used by society.


·         To use all links that we have with business in Teignbridge to encourage them to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced and specifically to contact our major supermarkets asking them to consider introducing a "plastic free aisle" in the local stores on a trial basis.


Councillor Hook, as proposer of the Motion, commented that action was required to stop and prevent marine pollution which was not only killing fish but birds and mammals. We should all be working towards the eradication of this contamination.


The Portfolio Holder for Environment Services stated that the target was to work towards zero avoidable waste by 2050; would be asking the Local Members of Parliament to lobby the Government; there was work already under way through the Devon Authorities Strategic Waste Committee to look for a preferred model waste collection scheme; need to educate and encourage the public; and waiting to see the results of East Devon District Council’s three weekly residual waste collect scheme to assess the implications this could have for Teignbridge.


The Waste & Cleaning Manager stated that work had already started the audit of the use of single use plastics within the Council; the Council was actively educating the public both through its own specific communication channels and through the joint work undertaken through the ‘Don’t let Devon go to Waste’ campaign; modelling was being done on three weekly residual bin collections and the performance of other authorities monitored; work was being undertaken to consider approaching the coffee shops in Newton Abbott to see if they could introduce a town branded reusable thermos type cup; and work was being done with Exeter and Torbay to collect and recycle marine litter.


Councillor Hook was pleased to hear what the Council was already doing and suggested that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee form a working group to ensure that the Council was putting into place actions and monitoring them with regards to single use plastics.


The Executive acknowledged that more was needed to be done to address marine pollution and the use of single use plastics and supported the establishment of a Scrutiny Working Group to help address and monitor the situation.


RESOLVED that the motion be noted and that it is suggested to Overview and Scrutiny Committee that they set up a working group to help to address the use of single use plastics.