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Barking and Dagenham Council backs scrapping single-use plastics

PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 July 2019

Barking and Dagenham Council has voted to phase out the use of single-use plastics where possible. Picture: Luke Acton.

Barking and Dagenham Council has voted to phase out the use of single-use plastics where possible. Picture: Luke Acton.

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The council has voted to scrap the use of single-use plastics where possible after a unanimous vote by the borough's 51 councillors.

Whalebone councillor Andrew Achilleos proposed the motion that could see single-use plastics phased out of council building, services and linked organisations. Picture: Jason Dodd/Andrew Achilleos.Whalebone councillor Andrew Achilleos proposed the motion that could see single-use plastics phased out of council building, services and linked organisations. Picture: Jason Dodd/Andrew Achilleos.

Barking and Dagenham Council will now explore how it can stop using the material at its sites and by its staff, before looking at trying the same with commissioned services, contractors, suppliers and authority-run schools.

Though both of these depend on practical and financial feasibility.

Whalebone councillor Andrew Achilleos proposed the motion. It was voted on at the full council meeting on Wednesday, July 24.

Mr Achilleos hopes as the second-largest employer in the borough (behind Ford), the move could make a real dent in its overall use of plastic.

"As Labour politicians, we talk a lot about the need to build more social housing, about the need to protect our NHS, about eradicating poverty and creating a more fair and equal society," said Cllr Achilleos.

"All noble causes, but for nothing if we destroy the environment that sustains us. This isn't melodramatic. This is a fact."

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The motion was seconded by Valence councillor Maureen Worby, who said she wanted to protect the planet for her grandchildren: "It is so important for us to think about the next generation.

"This is their world we're talking about and if we don't take action now, they're not going to have seas, rivers, countryside to visit. It's just going to be plastic.

"We're not going to save the nation on our own, but if every local authority did something, if each of us as individuals did something, we can make that difference."

Council leader Darren Rodwell also pointed to the younger generation in his family as he backed the motion.

"When I was young, I wanted to get my car, I wanted to drive it where I could, when I could and as quickly as I could.

"My sons don't have that urgency now. They actually prefer using public transport. They do worry about the environment."

In the next few week and months Cllr Achilleos will be speaking to council officers to see what the council is already doing on plastics and where it can make improvements.

He said he'll also be checking-in in a year's time to see what progress the council has made.

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