Hastings Borough Council (HBC) is to become a ‘plastic-free’ zone as the authority aims to lead the way in ending the use of single-use plastic products.
And at its meeting on Wednesday night the council pledged to ensure that the next time all 32 members met there would be no plastic bottles or cups in the room.
Councillor Matthew Beaver proposed the motion which councillors unanimously adopted, he called on the council to: “…understand the significance of pollution and environmental degradation caused by the disposal of plastic. This council will begin phasing out single use plastics within all our premises and will achieve zero use by the end of 2019,” he proposed
The council also committed itself to encouraging ‘by example’ other authorities and organisations in east Sussex to do the same.
Mr Beaver reminded his fellow councillors of some of the scenes from the David Attenborough Blue Planet series broadcast last year. He told them that Turtles cannot tell the difference between a discarded plastic bottle and a Jelly Fish, so eats the plastic which can then lead to a whole range of issues.
He said that traces of plastic can be found in one third of all the fish landed in the UK and consumption of plastic can lead to starvation and malnutrition in the fish. In addition when humans eat the fish they ingest that plastic too with no evidence available as to the long term implications that might have for human health.
And it is not just the quantity of plastic that is being dumped in the world’s oceans but the time it takes for those plastics to break down, a bottle dumped in the sea today would still exist in the year 2468, he told the meeting.
Mr Beaver’s motion was seconded by Councillor Dawn Poole who said she wanted to see HBC ‘leading from the front’. She said that what HBC planned to do might just be taking small steps but added that if everyone took small steps it would lead to significant change. She said there had been a noticeable reduction in the amount of plastic being used by members of council staff around the building in recent months and she urged members of the council to think about using milk from a bottle rather than sachets and to bring reusable cups to future meetings rather than using plastic ones.