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We are taking steps to tackle plastic pollution

27 February 2018

We are taking steps to tackle the environmental impact of plastic pollution.

We have backed a campaign to offer free drinking water to encourage people to refill reusable bottles rather than use single-use plastic water bottles.

And in a further move to tackle plastic waste, councillors have unanimously backed a motion at tonight’s (27 February) Full Council meeting that will commit us to phasing out the use of all single-use plastic products in our activities by the end of the year.

Anyone will soon be able to fill up their water bottle for free at our head office as part of a national scheme to cut the use of plastic and encourage people to drink more water.

From the beginning of March a water dispenser will be located in the reception area at South Lakeland House in Kendal, that people can use to fill a reusable drink container.

We are encouraging other businesses in South Lakeland to follow our example, to help in the campaign to reduce the environmental problems that can be caused by single-use plastic bottles.

We are supporting Refill, the national campaign committed to tackling the pollution of our rivers and seas with plastic.

Refill aims to reduce single-use plastic bottle pollution and promote healthy lifestyles by improving access to free drinking water on the go.

From the beginning of March, passers-by will be welcome to drop in to South Lakeland House during normal opening hours to fill up their water bottle for free.

The intention is that the ‘refill station’ at South Lakeland House will be added to a mobile ‘app’ that maps a national network of places to get free tap water at high street shops, coffee shops, businesses and local authorities.

Whitbread PLC, which includes Costa and Premier Inn, is the first major company to sign-up to the Refill campaign, and has pledged to offer free drinking water for customers and passers-by in each of its 3,000 locations from March. The campaign hopes to have tens of thousands of refill stations across the country by 2021.

Tonight’s meeting of our Full Council agreed a motion proposed by Leader Councillor Giles Archibald, that sets a target for us to become ‘single-use plastic free’ by the end of 2018. The motion received cross-party support.

Councillor Archibald’s motion read: ‘This council will become a single-use plastic free council by phasing out the use of single use plastic products such as bottles, cups, cutlery and drinking straws in council activities, where it is reasonable to do so, by the end of 2018 and to encourage our facilities’ users, local businesses and other local public agencies to do the same by championing alternatives, such as reusable water bottles.’

Councillor David Fletcher, our portfolio holder for the Environment, commented:  “We have key Council Plan commitments to reduce waste and protect our environment, as well as working to improve the health of our residents.

“These actions show that we are serious about our commitment to tackle plastic pollution as part of that environmental agenda.

“By refilling reusable water bottles, we can all help turn the harmful tide of plastic waste that we have all seen so graphically illustrated recently in television programmes like Blue Planet.

“The motion passed at Full Council is a further demonstration that we want to set the right example as a council by phasing out our own use of single-use plastic.’’

Councillor Philip Dixon, our portfolio holder for Health and Wellbeing, added: “The Refill campaign is not only good for the health of the planet but it is good for the health of the individual by making it easier for people to drink more water.

“We’re putting a refill station in our reception at South Lakeland House and are now looking to install one in Kendal Town Hall and other publically accessible council buildings.

“I would encourage other businesses and organisations in South Lakeland, however large or small, to follow our lead so we can create our own network of free drinking water in the district.’’

More information about the Refill campaign.

  • The water bottles used at the refill station should be re-usable – not single-use plastic bottles, which are not designed to be refilled with tap water. The advice is that these reusable bottles should be regularly rinsed out, and periodically thoroughly cleaned.

We have 100 re-usable plastic drinks bottles to give away to help residents to get started on their Refill journey. From the beginning of March they will be available on a first-come-first-served basis at South Lakeland House reception, one bottle per person while stocks last.