Plastic bottles, cups, straws and cutlery could be banned at City Hall as part of bid to make Norwich ‘pioneer plastic free city’

Martin Schmierer, leader of the Green group at Norwich City Council. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Martin Schmierer, leader of the Green group at Norwich City Council. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

A ban on plastic products which are only used once, such as bottles, straws, cups and cutlery, could be brought in at Norwich City Council's City Hall.

And a drive could be launched to encourage market traders, city businesses and people living in Norwich to follow suit in ending the use of such plastics.

Green city councillors last night tabled a motion for the authority's cabinet to end the sale of single-use plastic items such as bottles, cups, cutlery and drinking straws in its buildings.

And the motion, which Greens hoped would see the council 'leading by example' also called for the council to encourage traders on Norwich market to sell re-usable containers and invite customers to bring their own.

Green councillors said they wanted to see single-use plastic containers and cutlery phased out at the council and on the city council-owned market stalls by the end of next year.

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It also asked for the council to explore whether it could write into the contracts of pop-up food and drink vendors at city events that they should not provide plastic cutlery and containers.

Green group leader Martin Schmierer, who put forward the motion, said: 'I think a lot of people feel discouraged by the size of the problem, and feel that their actions can't make a difference – but they can.

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'Only six months after the 5p charge for plastic bags was introduced, bag use had already dropped by 85pc. That shows how quickly change can happen.

'Everyone can make a difference, for example by buying a reusable water bottle or bringing your own containers to the market.

'We want to see Norwich City Council leading by example. I would like to see Norwich become a pioneer plastic free city. I hope businesses would follow where Norwich City Council leads.'

Fellow Green councillor Ben Price added: 'A lot of the most common plastic items such as bottles and bags are used for just a few minutes and then thrown away – but that plastic is there for ever. Virtually every bit of plastic ever made still exists. That's a terrifying thought.'

The motion that cabinet should consider the approach was approved, with cross party support.

But Bert Bremner, cabinet member for environment and sustainable development, warned such an approach would have a financial impact, which needed to be carefully costed.

He said the cabinet would be happy to look at it, but with the council facing other pressures, it might not be a priority.

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