Plastic Free Communities and free water stations proposed for cleaner Capital

COUNCIL chiefs in Edinburgh want to create so called Plastic Free Communities in its drive against waste pollution. 

They would sit within a range of measures including the development of a new litter prevention action plan.

Moves towards upping the number of free water filling points are also to be reviewed.

The measures are contained in a report to the city’s Transport and Environment Committee this Thursday, following representations by councillors from both the Green and Conservative groups on the council.

While the report doesn’t go into substantial detail about PFC, it does point to work ongoing within communities already.

And it states: “The Council is currently working with two Zero Waste Towns projects. These are community led projects which are funded to deliver projects aimed at moving towards zero waste. These do not target plastics specifically but do provide an opportunity to encourage more sustainable use of plastics as part of these projects.

“In south Edinburgh the Council is supporting Shrub’s work to target the student community. The first pilot was an end of term collection in Marchmont designed to tackle dumping at the end of term and encourage reuse of household goods.

“In Leith Changeworks are leading on Zero Waste Leith. The first project is actively targeting fly-tipping which again means that less waste is loose in the environment.”

The report later adds: “The development of Locality Improvement Plans will assist in engaging communities in this. Initially Waste and Cleansing will be working with North East Locality and Zero Waste Scotland to develop a Litter Prevention Action Plan at the community level. By ensuring that community members (such as businesses) realise they need to be active participants in the process, which is in line with the Scottish national policy, it is hoped to make the city cleaner of all materials, including plastics.”

The latest proposals include following up on decisions around the following previously agreed motions:

Committee: 

Recognises the large quantity of plastic bottles that are currently disposed of and littered in the City and end up polluting the environment;

Notes the interest at national level in a deposit return system for drinks containers and agrees that Edinburgh Council should write to Scottish Ministers in support of this initiative;

Notes the success of such systems, especially in Scandinavia and the Baltic countries, at reducing both litter and associated costs for local authorities;

Further notes that plastic bottles are used during Edinburgh council service delivery, including school packed-lunches, and requests a report on ways of reducing this use.

“The Council:

  1. 1)  Recognises the high environmental and financial cost in dealing with plastic bottle waste in the city;
  2. 2)  Welcomes steps to introduce a deposit return scheme for such bottles and other forms of recyclable or re-usable materials;
  3. 3)  Recognises also that Edinburgh’s high quality public water supply represents an opportunity to reduce demand for bottled water and the associated plastic waste;
  4. 4)  Recognises the health benefits from greater consumption of water, reducing risks of obesity and dental decay from high sugar drinks;
  5. 5)  Therefore agrees to investigate a pilot scheme to provide public water bottle refill facilities in a number of high footfall locations in the city, taking account of experience elsewhere in the UK and other countries; and submitting a report within 3 cycles.”

“The Council:

  1. 1)  Recognises the high environmental and financial cost in dealing with plastic bottle waste in the city;
  2. 2)  Welcomes steps to introduce a deposit return scheme for such bottles and other forms of recyclable or re-usable materials;
  3. 3)  Recognises also that Edinburgh’s high quality public water supply represents an opportunity to reduce demand for bottled water and the associated plastic waste;
  4. 4)  Recognises the health benefits from greater consumption of water, reducing risks of obesity and dental decay from high sugar drinks;
  5. 5)  Therefore agrees to investigate a pilot scheme to provide public water bottle refill facilities in a number of high footfall locations in the city, taking account of experience elsewhere in the UK and other countries; and submitting a report within 3 cycles.”

“Council:

Welcomes the campaign Plastic Free Coastlines being promoted by Surfers Against Sewage which looks to reduce single use plastics to prevent them ending up in the seas and oceans and considers that supporting such a campaign could reduce landfill, litter and costs and asks officers to engage with the campaign and report back in two cycles to the Transport and Environment Committee detailing how the council could support this.”

In the report to be considered at Thursday’s meeting, officials will say: “Committee is asked to note the intention to propose Plastic Free Communities actions alongside other actions as part of the development of Litter Prevention Action Plans as these are developed across the city.”

They will also be asked to ‘note “that Changeworks have been instructed to develop a plastic water bottle refill scheme, and to develop messaging around single use plastics in their educational activities, as a result of these motions.”

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Read: Transport and Environment Committee – Meeting Papers

IMAGE CREDITS: cc Darlion

 

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