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Glasgow aims to phase out single-use plastics by 2022

The Council’s Plastics Reduction Strategy has set out a 24-point action plan for preventing and reducing the amount of plastic used and then disposed of in the Scottish city.

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Glasgow wants to be rid of unnecessary plastic by 2030
Glasgow wants to be rid of unnecessary plastic by 2030

The Scottish city of Glasgow is aiming to be free of unnecessary plastic by the year 2030 and to phase out all single-use plastics by 2022.

 

Glasgow City Council has proposed a Plastics Reduction Strategy that sets out a 24-point action plan for preventing and reducing the amount of plastic used and disposed of in the city.

 

One of the first proposed actions is that Glasgow becomes a signatory to the Eurocities commitment to curb plastic waste and littering, which was recently spearheaded by Oslo.

 

Public consultation

 

The strategy follows a public consultation on plastic reduction earlier this year that received over 1,500 individual responses and provided support for work to reduce single-use plastic consumption.

 

The long-term objective of the strategy is to end the use of plastic where that can be avoided or an alternative reusable version of the plastic item exists.

 

Given the scale of the issue and the need to advance quickly, the 24-point plan is solely focused on delivering progress in 2020 with further actions to be updated and renewed on an annual basis over the course of the strategy.

 

There will also be a feasibility study on a city-wide ban of certain single-use plastic items, developing Glasgow’s first plastic-free shopping zone, extending the number of free top-up taps for refilling reusable water bottles, supporting projects that remove plastics from the city’s waterways and exploring the possibility of Glasgow’s first plastic-free school.

 

"There is already a huge amount of scope for our habits to change and technology is changing so quickly that our norms will be transformed in the years ahead."

 

The plan also includes a call to tighten up legislation on single-use plastics, such as plastic bags and plastic packaging, and looks at how the council can lead by example on reducing the use of unnecessary plastics. A communication and education campaign on how to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic would be integral to achieving the 2030 target.

 

The strategy further highlights plastic-reduction possibilities in relation to school catering and council-operated cafes, reforming the council’s procurement procedures to ensure they are fully engaged with the plastic-reduction agenda and continuing to roll-out the Glasgow Cup Movement, which recycles and reduces the use of single-use cups for hot drinks.

 

Waste hierarchy

 

Andy Waddell, director of operations for the council’s Neighbourhoods and Sustainability Department, said the strategy was built upon the basic principles of the "waste hierarchy", which places the emphasis on prevention, reuse, recycling and recovery with disposal always as a last resort.

 

Even with rapid technological advances taking place in relation to plastic, he indicated that the city would have to move quickly to achieve an end to the use of unnecessary plastic by 2030.

 

"Plastic has become an ever-present feature of modern life and it has any number of vital applications,” he said. “From medical equipment to car safety features, computers and wheelie bins, plastic shows its usefulness time and time again.

 

"But we do live in a throwaway society and we do take for granted the impact that flows from treating so many plastic products as instantly disposable. The Plastic Reduction Strategy is therefore about seeking alternatives to plastic but also an alternative approach to how we use plastic itself."

 

"We live in a throwaway society and we do take for granted the impact that flows from treating so many plastic products as instantly disposable."

 

 

"The action plan sets a course for rapid change in the initial stages and we intend to update our plans on a regular basis. This will help us gather momentum but also refine and strengthen the strategy over its lifespan," he added.

 

The strategy was presented at the Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Committee on November 26 and will be referred to the City Administration Committee for final approval.

 

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