Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, and Councillor Martha Wardrop, Vice Chair of the Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Policy Committee, have agreed to joint action to drive forward a Plastic Reduction Plan for Glasgow.
Part of the work plan for the council's Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Policy Committee is to develop a Plastic Reduction Plan with the aim of setting out full details of the plan by Spring next year.
Both Councillor Richardson and Councillor Wardrop have committed to working together to ensure there is the broadest possible support for efforts to tackle the growing use of plastic in society and the increasingly detrimental impact plastic is having on the wider environment.
Building upon the philosophy of 'reduce, reuse, recycle', it is hoped that the joint initiative will help inspire changes that will help to curb the city's current consumption of plastic and will promote specific measures that assist the public to make those changes.
One area where momentum is already growing is the campaign to encourage the public to refill reusable water bottles or cups with tap water rather than purchasing mineral water in single-use plastic bottles. It is estimated that between 350,000 and 385,000 plastic drinks bottles are purchased in Glasgow every day and changes in the way people rehydrate themselves could lead to significant reductions in the use of plastic.
A number of public water drinking fountains still exist in Glasgow and one of the initial actions of the development of the Plastic Reduction Plan will be to examine with Scottish Water the prospect of increasing the number of drinking fountains in the city, but also how public buildings, shops and businesses can be promoted as sources of free tap water. Individuals who regularly consume water from single-use plastic bottles could save up to an estimated £200 if they switching to refilling reusable bottles with tap water.
An essential part of development of the plan will be a wide ranging conversation with key stakeholders on best to implement the basic aim of plastic reduction. This conversation would seek to include national organisations who have an interest in plastic reduction, but also local environmental groups who see the impact of plastic waste on their communities, including upon rivers and wildlife.
There will also be engagement with the city's business community about how businesses can contribute to the effort to reduce the consumption of plastic products. Reducing the prevalence of single-use plastic straws, disposable plastic glasses and other forms of single-use plastic has already been the subject of proposals within the recently issued Draft Licensing Policy Statement of Glasgow Licensing Board. Glasgow Chamber of Commerce has already participated in the Plastic Free Glasgow initiative and learning from the project will help to inform future work on plastic reduction with the business community.
It is intended that a draft of the action plan that will be presented to the Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction City Policy Committee in Spring 2019.