Plastic Free Newcastle?

Last year we asked Newcastle City Council how close it had come to achieving the targets set out in the Waste Commission’s ‘No Time to Waste‘ report, in terms of its pledges to reduce plastic waste.

We received the below response.

  • We have reduced single-use plastics in the Civic Centre by stopping the use of plastic straws, switching to compostable coffee cups and lids, using wooden disposable cutlery and re-using platters.
  • We have also promoted refilling of reusable water bottles more widely through signing up to the Refill app and in offices through providing cooled water taps and dispensers.
  • All offices in the Civic Centre now have new recycling points and improved information about what can be recycled, this is part of a programme which has also been delivered in a number of satellite offices.
  • Schools operate independently of the authority, however, the Cabinet Member, Cllr Nick Kemp, wrote in September 2017 challenging all schools to reduce their use of plastic, such as cutlery and straws, and asking them to demonstrate their commitment to recycling and waste reduction.
  • The School Catering service is continuing to work with schools who use this service on an individual basis to reduce their use of plastic and to reduce food waste.
  • We have switched to non-plastic alternatives where possible such as cups for water dispensers and are progressing these for vending machines.
  • Since April 2018 all the bin lorries have a new livery of posters with the recycling message, focusing on the kitchen and bathroom and items that residents have told us they were most confused about.
  • All households were issued with a flyer with the recycling information which for those with an individual bin also included a calendar.  These were distributed in March 2018, accompanied by more information in articles in the City Life paper. Additional calendars will also be distributed in student areas in October.
  • On-street litter bins have had posters put on them to remind people to put their litter and their dog’s poo in them and not to dump litter and waste around them.  We are also investigating whole bin wraps in key areas. 

We would like to see the council doing more to encourage a citywide commitment to reducing or banning single-use plastics.

We have requested details of how many schools have committed to reducing plastic waste as a result of contact with the council and what steps they have taken to achieve this.

We have also asked if the council is running any educational sessions for communities and how it is working with local businesses and employers to limit the impact of single-use plastic on the environment.

We also highlighted the number of historic water fountains across the city – most of which are listed structures – which could be brought back into use through collaboration with local heritage groups, to serve the dual purpose of preserving the natural and built environment. 

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