READING Council could go plastic-free if it approves a proposal from the Reading West Labour candidate Rachel Eden.

A motion backed by the ruling Labour Group will be discussed at the next Full Council meeting on June 25.

It will propose banning single-use plastic products like straws, cups and disposable bottles from all the council's internal and commissioned services, except where strictly necessary - for example, for care of older people - as soon as possible.

The move will require the council to publish a plan with a timetable to implement the ban.

Rachel Eden said: "Like so many people, I've been alarmed by the impact single-use plastic is having on our oceans and rivers.

"As well as many adults, I've been told by children at schools including Geoffrey Field Junior and St Michael's that it’s one of the top things they want to see change, so I'm bringing this motion to ensure the council works with our communities to tackle it."

About 300 million tonnes of plastics gets produced worldwide each year, with half of that ending up in waterways and, by 2050, they will contain more plastics than fish by weight, according to the Ellen McArthur Foundation.

Plastics in the environment can release toxic chemicals as they decompose, which pose a danger to marine life and ultimately to humans, through the food chain.

Newly appointed lead councillor for Corporate and Consumer Services, Ellie Emberson, whose portfolio will cover much of the delivery of the ban, said: "The council already works in partnership with projects like Refill Reading to reduce the amount of disposable plastic in Reading.

"We have a commitment to the environment and it is important our processes reflect this."

The motion will propose that the council helps and encourages local businesses to find sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics and to get schools involved to help educate young people about the effect of plastic waste on our environment.

Councillor Sophia James, the lead member who oversees Reading's involvement in RE3 recycling and waste-management partnership, welcomed the motion, saying: "Through RE3 we have shown our commitment to recycling and reducing the amount of plastic affecting the environment.

"This is a strong approach from Reading Borough Council and I look forward to working across Reading and Berkshire to eradicate single use plastics."

Labour's new council leader, Jason Brock, added: "I have said that the environment would be a key priority for my new administration and I'm delighted to say that the Labour Group will be fully behind Rachel's proposal to make Reading Council ‘plastics-free’ as soon as we can achieve it."