The ‘Love Essex Not Plastic’ campaign aims to tackle the amount of waste across the county by highlighting the issue of single-use plastics and urging households to switch to reusable options and recycle more.
It will focus on one item every month in 2020, encouraging consumers to make one small change at a time and help make a difference in protecting the environment, through newsletters and tips and ideas on social media.
Around 400 million tonnes of plastics are produced every year and 40% of that is single-use plastics such as drink bottles, carrier bags and coffee cups.
However, only 57% of plastic bottles are collected to be recycled in the UK.
Cllr Arthur Williams, Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment said: “Last year, in 2018/19, we recycled a total of 1,047 tonnes of plastics here in the Rochford District.
“This included 180 tonnes of household plastic bottles such as shampoo, detergents and household cleaning sprays. The figure was also made up of 262 tonnes of plastic drinks bottles and a staggering 605 tonnes of other plastics including pots, tubs and trays.
“In signing up to the ‘Essex Plastic Pledge,’ and making small changes, we can all help to reduce the amount we have to recycle. The knock-on effect will be less material that needs to be collected, less miles travelled, less processing of the plastics, lower pollution levels and a reduced carbon footprint.”
Cllr Jude Deakin, Cabinet Member for Safer Chelmsford, said, “Last summer, Chelmsford City Council declared not only a climate emergency, but a climate and ecological emergency. The damage that human beings are inflicting on our planet is serious and if we do not act now, it will soon be irreversible. Our rivers, seas and oceans are choking in plastic that, in many cases, doesn’t even need to be produced.
“We are changing the Council’s own activities to achieve net zero carbon emissions and eliminate single-use plastics, and are encouraging others to do the same. We are all together in this, so please join us and make your own pledge today.”
The partners for the campaign also include Basildon Borough Council, Braintree District Council, Brentwood Borough Council, Castle Point Council, Epping Forest District Council, Essex County Council, Harlow Council, Maldon District Council and Uttlesford District Council.