Single use plastics will be eliminated at Wokingham Borough Council.

It follows a motion by councillor Gregor Murray, which was carried 10 months after being initially put forward to the council, due to meetings consistently running over time and Covid-19 delays.

Councillors unanimously approved the motion at a full council meeting on July 23.

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The move is part of the council’s plans for a carbon neutral borough by 2030 and will ban all “unnecessary” single use plastics.

Cllr Murray said: “While all primary focus has to be on dramatically reducing our carbon footprint, that focus shouldn’t allow us to abdicate our other environmental responsibilities.

“Single use plastics have become one of the biggest environmental challenges our world has known and it would be irresponsible of us not to act against them when we have the opportunity.

“There have to be some exceptions, but otherwise let there be no excuse for single plastic use.”

By agreeing the motion, WBC has committed to ensuring that – wherever possible – single use plastic is eliminated from use within the council and all council-controlled environments as soon as possible.

The motion highlighted the “overwhelming evidence about the impact that single use plastics have on our lives, climate, seas, rivers and broader environments”.

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The single use plastics ban will be achieved by:

  • Phasing out the purchase of single-use plastic products through services commissioned by the Council where possible and as soon as practicable
  • Bringing regular reports to future committee meetings, describing the council’s plans to eliminate single-use plastic from the organisation, including a timetable for doing so
  • Working with Wokingham’s businesses, community groups and residents to share advice, ideas and best practice on using sustainable alternatives
  • Working with schools to support the aspiration of Wokingham’s young people to eliminate plastic waste from our environment
  • Seeking to work with neighbouring councils to tackle single use plastic use across the wider Berkshire area.
  • Signposting on all council buildings and properties to forbid bringing single use plastics onto the property and signs once it has become single use plastic free

Councillors had been waiting to vote on the motion for 10 months and it was only voted on last week because the council agreed to extend the meeting by one hour.