The plastic cup, disposable crockery and other single use plastic items could be outlawed from county hall and other council premises - if Councillor Gina Dowding gets her way.
The campaigning Green party county councillor has scored a first victory in her bid to get councillors to think again about reducing the council’s contribution to plastic waste .
She persuaded councillors to ask the council’s Cabinet to consider phasing out the use of SUPs (single use plastic items).
Now a working party is likely to be set up to consider the issue.
Coun Dowding highlighted the problems created by throwaway plastic items in a special motion put to the full council.
She told councillors: “This is about responding to the immediate crisis we have regarding plastics..It’s about this Council taking leadership. It needs urgent action.”
She warned the council would soon, like other authorities, have to deal with the impact of China’s recent decision not to continue taking the UK’s plastic waste.
Coun Dowding had wanted to make the council a SUP free authority by the end of 2018, but councillors declined to set a target date.
Coun Graham Gooch, Cabinet member for adults services, told Coun Dowding he agreed with her, but could not support the phasing out of such products by the end of this year.
He said this was for many reasons, including the supply of goods, the council’s longer term contracts and also because, for example in social care, there were some items of equipment where alternative replacement for SUPs had not yet been created. He told the council : “I agree with the motion except for the timing - it’s just not possible to achieve these things by the end of the year.”
Instead he successfully proposed an amendment to the motion, deleting the target date.
During the debate Independent Fylde West councillor Paul Hayhurst described his dismay at seeing plastic not only on the beach in his home town of Blackpool, but also on the Outer Hebridean isle of Barra where he and his wife have a holiday home.
He said: “The beaches on the Outer Hebrides are full of plastic...We’ve got to wake up as a county council and give a lead to the rest of Lancashire.”
He added: “We should all be grateful to Gina for bringing this forward because it’s something we’ve really got to get to grips with...We live in an age where we basically throw everything away.”
Liberal Democrat Councillor David Whipp warned disposal of plastics is: “a very big issue that will confront this authority in the next few months and over the next few years.”
Coun Dowding had proposed a four part motion and wanted councillors to ask the council’s cabinet to: •develop a robust strategy to make LCC a ‘single-use-plastic-free’ authority by the end of 2018 and encourage county institutions, businesses and citizens to do the same
• End the sale and provision of SUP products such as bottles, cups, cutlery and drinking straws in council buildings, events and services
• Encourage schools and social care facilities to work to phase out single use plastic items by the end of the year
•To ensure the council acts to end SUPs use this year in its procurement of goods and suppliers “wherever feasible and appropriate.”
Coun Gooch said: “ I think cabinet will be in a position to set up a working group, probably scrutiny group which I’m sure she (Coun Dowding) will take part in.”
After the meeting Coun Dowding said: “I would have liked to see more targets and dates. I don’t think public awareness has ever been higher of the need to reduce use of plastics.”