Single-use plastics and the Council

Plastic waste has become a pressing environmental challenge. As well as working to tackle climate change, in March 2019 the Council adopted the Single Use Plastic Strategy for Surrey and introduced a policy for its staff.

The Surrey-wide strategy

This is Surrey councils' shared vision for a single-use plastic free county. The Strategy gives us a road-map to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics, with five key tasks:

  • Phase out the sale and provision of single-use plastic products in Surrey's councils
  • Adopt procurement policies that work towards zero avoidable single-use plastics, including at events
  • Help suppliers and contractors to find alternative, sustainable replacements to single-use plastics
  • Support partners and local stakeholders make their own locations single-use plastic free
  • Encourage people across Surrey to reduce single-use plastics

Single-use plastics in the Council

We will continue our work to reduce single-use plastics in Council-owned buildings and services. Our internal policy approach is to value pledges of future behaviour as a force for change, and to emphasise that it is everyone's responsibility to tackle the problem.

Since the start of 2019 the Council has:

  • Stopped routinely providing single-use plastic cups at Council offices
  • Stopped buying plastic-based refreshment supplies
  • Introduced segregated office recycling bins to improve recycling rates
  • Worked to end the sale and provision of single-use plastics across our estate (for example in vending machines)
  • Developed procurement policies requiring suppliers to reduce or remove single-use plastics wherever possible
  • Supported staff initiatives to recycle single-use plastics for community benefit

What can you do to help?

  • Take a reusable cup to the coffee shop. You coffee may even be cheaper that way!
  • Carry a refillable water bottle instead of using disposable bottles and cups
  • Look out for the Refill logo or get the Refill app to find your nearest free local water refill station
  • Carry reusable shopping bags to avoid buying plastic ones
  • Use reusable tubs for snacks and lunches
  • Reject plastic straws and cutlery
  • Avoid using wet wipes
  • Use alternatives to plastic film (for example, beeswax wraps can be used for up to a year)

And if you do have to use a plastic product, check if you can recycle it with the Council.

Learning more about reducing single-use plastics

There's lots more information here.