Bid to rid ‘one use’plastics at Council offices

Councillors Kathleen Leslie and Darren Watt hope to get cross-party support fir their motion.
Councillors Kathleen Leslie and Darren Watt hope to get cross-party support fir their motion.

Councillors behind the move to rid Fife Council of ‘one use’ plastics such as cups, straws and cutlery are hoping to gain cross party support for their campaign.

Darren Watt, councillor for Cowdenbeath and a member of the council’s environment committee, along with his Burntisland colleague Cllr Kathleen Leslie, are hoping their motion to begin a transition away from single-use plastics such as catering items will attract support from across the chamber when it is presented to full council today, (Thursday).

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Cllr Watt told the Press he hoped the move would trigger a change of culture among council staff and how they use disposable plastic items.

“This motion is a very important first step to show Fife Council is leading by example and practising what it often preaches,” he explained.

“We must provide environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic products and encourage staff and visitors to make better and more informed decisions.

“The devastating impact to the environment and escalating costs of recycling simply can no longer be ignored.

“We need to tackle this issue head on, starting with assessing our own in-house practices.”

The motion will ask that plastic cutlery and other disposable items are no longer available and that staff bring their own refillable bottle for the water fountains.

And the councillors say consideration should also be given to offering discounts or incentives to those who bring their own coffee cup.

If successful the two councillors want to introduce the changes at the local authority’s two main offices; Fife House and Rothesay House.

But they say the move has the potential to go much further and could have a huge positive impact on the council’s environmental practices as well as reducing costs for the cash strapped authority.

The shift away from single-use plastic has already gained support in other local authorities.

The motion follows similar moves at Angus and Aberdeen councils, both of which have proposed measures to phase out plastic straws and other single-use plastic items in council buildings.

“Single-use plastic has been a bugbear of mine for a long time,” said Cllr Leslie.

“Discarded plastic cups, bottles, cutlery and bags can end up in the sea and cause horrendous damage to marine life.

“Schools teach youngsters from an early age about the importance of recycling, therefore, it is only right that the local authority is seen to be leading the way.

“We all have a responsibility to cut down hugely on single-use plastic.

“Some coffee cups are notoriously difficult to recycle due to their mixed materials, surely it is better to look at alternatives such as bringing your own cup.”

If the motion proves successful the pair hope the first reduction in plastic waste measures could be in place by April, the start of the new financial year.