Plastics pledge marks World Environment Day

Plastics pledge marks World Environment Day

A Somerset “Pledge Against Preventable Plastics” has been launched to identify some of the simple practical steps we can all take to cut waste and recycle more.

The pledge coincides with the annual World Environment Day, whose theme this year is “Beat Plastic Pollution” with the slogan “If you can’t reuse it, refuse it”.

The call is for a commitment to cut back on the tide of plastic we buy, which should help reduce the litter in our countryside, waste in the oceans and rubbish sent to costly, polluting landfill.

The new pocket-sized Pledge Against Preventable Plastic, which is printed on 100% recycled paper, has been created by Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP).

It has been introduced at a time when SWP’s six partner authorities, as well as many parish councils, companies and other organisations, are all looking to help reduce or eliminate preventable or single-use plastics in their own operations and more widely in their communities.

On one side of the pledge is a checklist of easy plastic actions under six headings, from “things to bring” – reusable water bottle, refillable coffee cup, bag for life – to “choose to reuse” about avoiding plastic cutlery, plastic straws and condiment sachets.

The pledge includes a call to “be a local hero” by organising litter picks and to proudly pick up and bin any street rubbish, and to “say yes to less” by buying loose fruit and veg and only picking the packing you really need.

There is also a “lobby locally” reminder that it is important to raise the issue of plastics with others who can make a difference, such as letting local businesses know how you feel and asking them what they can do to help. And it concludes: “Do what you can. Every little helps!”

On the other side of the plastics pledge is a quick reminder of all the materials that you can recycle now at the kerbside, including all plastic bottles from around your house, from milk to bleach, shampoo to soft drinks.

And there the pledge highlights the all-important new service taking plastic food and other household pots, tubs and trays at all 16 Somerset recycling sites, while a future kerbside collection of these items is being planned.

The new recycling site service is already proving a big hit, taking plastic pots for yoghurt, soup, face cream, hair gel; plastic tubs for margarine, ice cream and laundry tabs; and plastic trays and punnets (including black plastic) for meat, ready meals, fruit and mushrooms.

Site staff are reminding visitors to remove all foil, film covers, absorbent pads and card, to rinse out any contents, and to squash items to fit more in.

To find out more about the action being taken on plastics in Somerset, and to sign up for the Pledge Against Preventable Plastic, visit: https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/act-on-plastics/