An albatross unwittingly feeding plastic to their young. A sea turtle hopelessly ensnared in floating debris. The most celebrated and watched programme of 2017 was also the most sobering.
‘Blue Planet II’ brought to life the staggering impact that our consumerist, throwaway culture is having on our seas. It’s estimated that 9 million tonnes of plastic waste enters our seas and oceans every year, causing huge damage to marine life and the environment. Single-use plastics (SUPs), such as straws, plastic bottles and disposable coffee cups are not widely recycled, and can take up to 900 years to degrade, breaking into fragments that enter the food chain.
At the county council meeting last week, Lib Dems and Greens joined forces in calling for Gloucestershire County Council to become a SUP-free council by 2019, ensuring that all items such as bottles and cutlery are replaced with sustainable alternatives.
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Bourton & Northleach), who seconded the motion, said, “The prevalence of plastic in our seas and oceans is an incredibly important issue. The success of the ‘plastic bag levy’, brought in during the coalition government, was a relatively minor move that has led to an 85% reduction in disposable plastic bag usage.
“I was really pleased to support Cllr Eva Ward on this issue but was saddened that the Conservatives chose to push the timescales back so that in effect GCC won’t become fully SUP-free until 2025. They should have been braver.
“Still, at least we got some action and the journey to less plastic pollution started here!”
Many people have been asking about when plastics kerbside recycling will happen in the Cotswolds.
Paul with the new sack which every household will receive in September to recycle their plastics
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson has campaigned for the service for 5 years and is delighted with the news that the service is on its way, “I’m very pleased that I’ve now been given the following news for our area”:
-All ‘rigid’ plastics will be collected in the Churn Valley from week commencing 15 October APART from certain parts of Baunton which will start collections 2 weeks later – to check your start date please visit the Cotswold District Council website at www.cotswold.gov.uk
-‘Rigid plastics’ are bottles, tubs, trays, pots etc
-Plastics will be collected fortnightly along with the other materials we can recycle at present
-New vehicles will be used meaning the number of vehicles coming to collect will drop
-Each household will receive a white collection sack for plastics next month (although if people have a small number of plastics they can be out into their existing black box)
Full details will be sent to every household next month.
All of the parish councils in the Churn Valley have just held their Annual Parish Meetings and various issues have been raised.
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (right) with Cllr John Hughes (Shadow Environment Spokesman) - plastics was a hot topic at the annual parish meetings
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson spoke at each meeting with a report back on what had been happening both locally and CDC-wide in the last 12 months.
Paul said, “It was great to see lots of people at North Cerney, Baunton, Rendcomb, Coberley and Bagendon parish council meetings in the last ten days.”
“Locally, I spoke about littering of verges along the A435 and the Whiteway in particular and how people can call CDC on 01285 623623 to get the are cleared quickly. Also, the state of some roads is appalling! Potholes are an ongoing bugbear and I report them as I see them, but residents can do the same direct to GCC. I can get on the case if they aren’t fixed promptly.”
“People also wanted to know how the Churn Valley Safer Cycle and Walkers Path is developing. I told them about how the existing bridlepath is being brought up to the correct standard and how the route could now be extended to Rendcomb from North Cerney.”
“There was lots of good feedback on the news that CDC will be introducing kerbside hard plastics recycling from the autumn – something I’ve campaigned for vigorously for the last 5 years. The poor decision of CDC’s administration to recommend 24/7 car parking charges across the district was also discussed and there was relief that in the end they had only gone ahead with this in one car park.”
Colesbourne has a parish meeting rather than a council and no date has yet been fixed for their annual meeting.
Many residents have asked for some time when we’ll be getting a recycling collection of plastics from the kerbside as many other councils do.
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson says it’s a subject he feels passionately about, “The good news is that CDC has just announced that there will be a collection of ‘rigid plastics’ from the kerbside later this year – probably the fourth quarter.”
“‘Rigid plastics’ are things like bottles, margarine pots, tubs and containers. This should reduce substantially the amount of waste in our black bins and therefore what goes to landfill.”
There’ll be further announcements nearer the time which we’ll let you know about.