In March 2019 Epsom and Ewell Council agreed to phase out its use of single-use plastics. How is it getting along? Judge for yourself from the reply of Councillor John Beckett (Residents Association – Auriol Ward) to a progress report demanded by Councillor Julie Morris (Liberal Democrat – College Ward) at the Council meeting 6th December.
The Chairman of the Environment and Safe Communities Committee reported:
“Since adopting the Single use Plastics Policy as part of the Climate Change Action
Plan, the Council has been working to support the reduction in the use of single use
plastics within its own operations and across the Borough. We have utilised our
communications channels and public events to improve awareness and to support
wider behaviour change of our residents and businesses. We installed refillable
water stations in 6 of our parks and opens spaces and in our Market place, to
encourage use of reusable water bottles,. We have also supported all non-food stall
and dry food greengrocers at Epsom Market to stop using single use plastic carrier
bags, run a reusable Tote bag giveaway event, and committed to making the Market
place Single use Plastic free by April 2024.
We have also reviewed the Council’s own operations to understand where we can
reduce single use plastics. We have removed all plastic cups from our operational
buildings, encouraging staff to use reusable bottles and cups. We replaced the
depot’s old container-based water cooler with a plumbed-in version. We have also
introduced segregated office recycling bins to enable improved recycling of plastics
in our buildings.
We have stopped buying plastic-based refreshment supplies where possible but
where it hasn’t been possible to find a viable alternative, we are unfortunately having
to continue to use that option. This does not mean that we will just accept the
products but will continue to look at alternative options now and in the future.
As the Climate Change Action Plan is a living document and with changes to
industry constantly evolving, we will continue to review our operations for further
opportunities to reduce the need for Single use Plastics. This work will also involve
partnership working with Surrey County Council, through the Surrey Environment
Partnership, to support the delivery of the Single-use Plastics Strategy for the whole
Regarding the small milk pots which are currently used at the hot drink’s machines in
the members room, council chamber and committee rooms, alternative options are
being looked at with the intention for these to be discussed at the January Climate
Change Working Group meeting. After an initial conversation with the councils
recycling officer, it is believed that the material used in the pods might be the same
as yogurt pots and the solution might be as simple as removing the foil lid and
having a separate container for these to be recycled at these locations.
Whilst we acknowledge it wasn’t called an audit a review has taken place of Single
use Plastic use and subsequent action taken as highlighted in this reply. Since then,
the issue of SuP and the 5 pledges have been incorporated into the climate change
action plan and will continue to be picked up through delivery of the plan. These actions are also now robustly supported by incorporating SuP consideration into all our procurement processes. The climate change action plan has member oversight and officer resource attributed to secure its delivery and continuous review.”