On April 25th, the Plaid Cymru group on Bridgend Council tabled a motion calling for BCBC to support the county becoming “plastic-free”; by “plastic-free” they mean reducing or eliminating the use of single-use and throwaway plastics.
The Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr. Richard Young (Lab, Pendre), supported national policies towards zero waste but thought it better to refer the issue to one of BCBC’s scrutiny committees – who are due to discuss the report later today (pdf).
The report says 2,109 tonnes of plastic are recycled in Bridgend every year from kerbside collections. A further 1,197 of non-kerbside plastics are taken to Community Recycling Centres, while the absorbent waste products (“purple bag”) collection service has diverted 1,128 tonnes of material away from landfill.
The Council itself no longer purchases single-use plastic cups, spoons and sachets, while plastics are routinely recycled on council premises.
However, polystyrene cups are still used on election nights and these are non-recyclable, with officers saying there are few alternatives. Consideration is being given to asking candidates and election staff to bring their own drinks containers to future counts.
Officers also highlighted some of the other issues – like BCBC/Kier’s use of single-use plastic bags to collect kerbside food waste and the “blue bags” for non-recyclable waste, which is said to be cheaper than degradable bags in light of budget cuts (pdf).
BCBC say that if they were to move to wheelie bin collections for non-recyclable waste instead of using single-use bags, it would cost £1million.
BCBC are considering public information campaigns in school, starting from the autumn term (pdf), to reduce single-use plastic use and littering amongst the public by changing behaviours, as well as encouraging local businesses to consider using more environmentally-friendly materials – in particular reducing the use of polystyrene.