By Kris Jepson
Newcastle should ban single-use plastics and plastic straws in bars and restaurants, according to a new report into waste reduction.
The No Time To Waste report, funded by the Newcastle Waste Commission, sets out recommendations to reduce waste in the city by 10 per cent by 2025.
The report suggests Newcastle can also increase its recycling rate by 65 per cent by 2030.
Watch @krisjepson's report here:
The city collects 142,000 tonnes of it every year, which is enough to fill St James Park entirely every three years and the council says it is becoming increasingly costly to process. Councillors say when business and industrial waste is added this figure is much higher.
The report coincides with a number of recent announcements by Government and big business aimed at reducing single-use plastic, which is harming wildlife and damaging the environment.
Ultimately some of the targets are long-term, there will be efforts that need to be made that looks at things like contracts with waste collectors. This is something that's been thought-through, it's evidence based and I'm highly confident that the city will react to this report, embrace it and deliver on results. This is a message from the city to go out and say 'we wish to be a clean and green city'. >
Drawn up by experts on the Newcastle Waste Commission, the report suggests:
a voluntary ban on single use plastics in the city
a voluntary ban on drinking straws in pubs, clubs and restaurants
setting an ambitious target to be a zero-food waste city
a re-use mall where unwanted items can be bought, sold and swapped
exploring alternatives to the council sending waste to Sweden
setting up a city-wide partnership for groups to share ideas and good practice
The report’s findings were presented to an invited audience at Newcastle’s Mansion House by Heidi Mottram, Chair of the Commission and Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water Group.
Ms Mottram said: “Waste, and how we deal with it, is one of the biggest challenges facing our generation.
“Thanks to TV programmes like Blue Planet the threat that it poses have struck a chord with millions of people and there now appears to be a growing acceptance that we can’t just carry on doing the same old things.
“We all have a responsibility to wise-up to waste and do our bit. This report is full of ideas, big and small, short term and long term. I want as many people as possible to read it. If everyone pledges to do at least one thing then together we can make a big difference.
“Ultimately, the people of Newcastle hold the key to success. By reducing waste, recycling more and reusing everyday items, the city can make a step change.”