Reducing Single Use Plastics in Lancashire - Update Report
The Chair welcomed County Councillor Albert Atkinson, Cabinet Member for Technical Services, Rural Affairs and Waste Management; Mike Kirby, Director of Strategy and Performance; Rachel Tanner, Head of Service Procurement; Clare Joynson, Head of Service Facilities Management; Ginette Unsworth, Head of Service Communications; William Maxwell, Service Development Manager; and Nigel Craine, Head of School and Residential Care Catering, to the meeting.
The report detailed an update on progress by the various services involved in the delivery of this work and the development of a strategy for Lancashire County Council to become a Single Use Plastics (SUP) free authority, where possible and feasible. It was pointed out that a bite size briefing for councillors had been arranged for the 9 October to inform them about the issues of plastic waste and what was being done to address this and the role councillors could play.
Members were informed that Lancashire County Council continued to work with suppliers and colleagues in procurement to source alternative products that could be introduced across the service. The service had recently introduced compostable items to combat SUPs and would keep this under review and seek advice from waste colleagues. The total items now recyclable or compostable that the county council had introduced recently replacing SUPs now stood at 20 items.
The committee highlighted the importance of better educating people in terms of SUPs and recycling. Members were delighted that information on this was been taken into schools but it was also important to education our elders. The county council along with partner authorities were using a number of methods to promote the new recycling pots, tubs and trays campaign including social media messages, stickers on recycling bins, media relations and leaflets and posters. . District councils were helping with the campaign by distributing leaflets and promoting the message on the sides of their vehicles. Information had also been put on bus timetables.
With regards to the 70% reduction of stationary used in school kitchens by the introduction of e-tablets it was noted that the decision had been taken to allow for a number of benefits rather than just based on the implications of SUPs. The benefits of the introduction of e-tablets far outweighed the impact on the environment.
Members enquired about the central distribution hub which was one of the benefits of the sustainable procurement strategy that the Schools and Residential Care Catering team operated against. The hub would reduce the number of vehicles delivering food across Lancashire by approximately 3000 per week and reduce carbon monoxide emissions. The hub required suppliers to adhere to SUP packaging limitations.
Regarding alternatives for the re-use of plastics, the committee was informed that this was an ongoing investigation process and would be considered during the development of the strategy. One suggestion from members which had been considered by the Task Group was the use of waste plastic in the resurfacing of roads.
- The report presented be noted.
ii. The relevant officers come back to the Internal Scrutiny Committee to present a further update and the draft strategy on reducing Single Use Plastics in Lancashire.