We have treated the world’s oceans as a rubbish dump for years and the effects on the natural world have been grotesque. Millions of us have seen Blue Planet and even if we didn’t know about the problem before, we do now.
But we still continue to dump 12 million tonnes of plastic into the oceans every year. There is one floating plastic island in the Pacific that is larger than France.
Nationally, we are finally seeing some action. The plastic bag charge, which I’m proud to say was championed by school children has led to a 90% reduction in the number of bags used.
But the only long term solution is to design waste out of the system. There’s no excuse for retailers to use as much packaging as they do, or for manufacturers to make products that cannot be recycled or repaired. The retailers are a part of the problem, but they could so easily become part of the solution.
Here in Richmond-upon-Thames, we are launching a campaign to cut plastic waste.
Our first goal is to stop the distribution and use of plastic straws and stirrers across the borough; persuade local shops to switch to reusable or recyclable coffee cups; and for local businesses to offer free water refills for people with reusable bottles.
Please support the campaign by signing up using the form to the left of this article, and crucially, by spreading the word in the cafés, bars, restaurants and supermarkets you use.
Every business that signs up will be given a beautiful ‘PlasticFreeBorough’ sticker, and masses of free publicity!
Zac Goldsmith MP
“Everyone of us has a role to play in limiting single use plastics whether it is buying reusable bottles and cups, stop using plastic straws or just looking around the house to see which plastic packaged products we can do without. So let's work together and make Richmond the leading borough in eliminating unnecessary use of plastics."
- Cllr Pamela Fleming, Cabinet Member for the Environment