Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has joined the fight against single-use plastics as it drives change across many of its facilities.
There is no doubt that the phrase ‘single-use plastics’ has been unavoidable over the past couple of years, but this is not without good reason.
Today’s society creates 300 million tons of new plastic every year and half of this is single-use plastic, which includes plastic bags, disposable utensils, beverage containers, coffee capsules, food wrappers, straws, stirrers etc.
As it takes a very long time for these plastics to decompose, a lot of it will eventually end up in our oceans, resulting in the death of an estimated 100,000 sea mammals and one million birds every year.
The council has recognised there is a need for change now and in line with its Environmental Management System is committed to reducing plastic usage across its buildings.
Taking initial steps, council has introduced paper cups in many of its public areas as well as biodegradable cups and paper straws in the cafes at Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Kinnego Marina, Navan Centre, Banbridge Leisure Centre and FE McWilliam Gallery.
Recently backing the Northern Ireland Water ‘refillution’ campaign - which promotes the refilling of reusable water bottles with tap water - council has also introduced new signage to encourage people to refill bottles from the taps available.
Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Mealla Campbell, said: “Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world today and without a doubt we all have a responsibility to do our bit to tackle this issue. As a council, we understand the important role we play, not only as advocates but also as champions of change, which is why I am thrilled to see council introduce new initiatives to reduce single-use plastics across its sites. It is also great to see council rethink existing processes and introduce new ways of working such as sustainable procurement to tackle the problem in the long term.”