Plastic is a very durable material and can last for hundreds of years. Yet, up to half of all plastic items are designed to be used just once, often for a matter of minutes or hours. When it is not disposed of properly, plastic pollution can have a serious impact on the environment, entering the oceans and potentially harming marine wildlife.
In 2018, DEFRA published its 25-Year Environment Plan which outlined the Government’s commitment to eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2042. Ipswich Borough Council is committed to taking responsibility for its own impact on the environment and society.
In January 2019, Ipswich Borough Council passed a motion confirming the Council’s commitment to reducing plastic waste by eliminating avoidable single-use plastics (SUPs) across its services, offices, green spaces and events.
We conducted an audit of all our avoidable SUPs at our main headquarters, in our parks and green spaces and at our events and replaced our avoidable SUPs with sustainable or reusable alternatives, while also ensuring we maximise our opportunities to recycle what we cannot eliminate and utilise any opportunities to recycle new materials wherever possible.
Some of the changes we have made include:
The changes we will be implementing from this project will help us save over 8000 kilograms of plastic every year. Over 5 years, the reduction in Single Use Plastic will equate to more than 40,000 kilograms. If this plastic were laid out end to end, it would stretch over 404,200 metres; almost the length of the Grand Canyon!
As individuals, there are also a few simple steps that we can all take to cut down the amount of single-use plastics we use. Even small changes can make a big difference. Here are some ideas to consider:
There is a growing number of resources available online to help you reduce the number of single use plastics in your daily life. Here are some examples:
It is important that we try to reduce as many single-use plastics as we can. But we should also try to ensure we recycle what we cannot avoid using. In Ipswich, plastic pots, tubs and trays and bottles can be recycled. You can find out more about what plastics can be recycled here.