Cornwall Council is calling for business and residents to join forces with it and other organisations to move towards ridding Cornwall of single use plastic.

The call to action follows the request for retailers to introduce “plastic-free” aisles and the extension of the 5p charge on plastic carrier bags to all retailers in England.

Cornwall Council cabinet member for environment and public protection, Sue James, said the Government’s announcements were a step in the right direction but that doing it ‘dreckly’ was not going far enough. Councillor James hopes residents and businesses of Cornwall will want to lead the way for the rest of the UK

“I’d personally like to see the end to single use plastics. Imagine if we could be the first county in the United Kingdom to stop the use of single use plastic – making a real step change to protect our beautiful environment and playing our part to reduce the harm to our surrounding seas.

“I will turn my attention first on Cornwall Council’s estate and services but hope residents will join me by influencing their local communities and town and parish councils”.

Cllr James said through Cornwall Council’s partnership with Clean Cornwall, it will invite Cornwall businesses to come together to discuss what can be done to eliminate the use of plastic in Cornwall.

“Penzance is already a pioneer in this area and recently became the first town in the UK to be awarded plastic free status as part of a campaign run by Surfers Against Sewage. The town has shops, cafes and visitor attractions reducing single-use plastics and residents taking part in beach cleans. This is a conversation I want to see spread across Cornwall.

“Less plastic waste means less to dispose of, which saves money and resources, and it’s better for the environment and wildlife.

“I’d like to see all local producers ensure they only use plastic packaging where there is absolutely no alternative and ensure that what they use is easily recycled.”

Cllr James said China’s recent decision to impose a ban on ‘foreign waste’ as part of a drive to upgrade its industries highlighted the importance of all local authorities looking at more sustainable ways to manage waste by helping to change the behaviours and practices of businesses and consumers.

“While waste from Cornwall is not sent to directly China, new approaches to resources and waste management have momentum around the world. Whether plastic waste is sent to the UK, Portugal or China, it’s not sustainable for any local authority to keep managing increasing levels of plastic waste, the costs of which are borne by the taxpayer.”