Set time limit to end use of plastic food and drinks containers, urges Plaid Cymru leader

10/08/2018

Plaid Cymru group leader Colin Mann today called on Caerphilly council to phase out its use of disposable plastic cutlery and drinks cups.

The appeal comes after it was revealed the authority ordered more than 116,000 items between April 1st and July 26th, 2018 after a Freedom of Information request by Plaid Cymru.

The council was only able to provide information for a short period, rather than the original request covering three years, saying it would cost too much to do so.

Councillor Colin Mann said: “It is important that the council sets a lead in the county borough. Many organisations are now setting target dates for ending single use plastic food and drinks containers and that’s what I want the authority to do.

“But action can be taken in the meantime. Do we need to buy 14,000 plastic cups for the water dispensers at Ty Penallta (the council’s headquarters? Surely staff can be asked to bring their own reusable cups.

“I also notice that we are ordering thousands of plastic straws but only last month it was announced that Transcend Packaging was moving into a council industrial unit on Dyffryn Business Estate in Ystrad Mynach and would be producing biodegradable paper straws for McDonalds.

“With such a firm on our doorstep, surely we should also be ordering biodegradable straws for schools rather than plastic ones. And we need to look into whether the firm can help replace any other single-used plastic food or drink items.”

Councillor Mann added: “I’m also concerned that the council does not have at its fingertips the amount of plastic items ordered over the last few years. It should be available at the touch of a computer key.”

Freedom of Information Request and Response from Caerphilly Council

Please provide details of the number of disposable plastic food and drink containers e.g. coffee cups, cups for water, straws, knives, forks, stirrers etc. Please also state where the above items are used e.g. council restaurants, leisure centres, community centres etc. So I would like the council to examine the paper invoices, starting from the most recent invoice and working back from there, until the £450 cost limit is reached, so providing a snapshot.

 We are able to provide the following details for plastic items ordered by Catering Services for schools and the staff restaurant, together with items purchased for use in water dispensers in the Ty Penallta building. The Council contracts with a private company to provide vending machines in leisure centres and we therefore do not hold information relating to disposable items used in the vending machines. Supplies are not purchased by the Council for community centres.

 Please note that in order to avoid exceeding the limits outlined in the fees regulations for Freedom of Information requests, the sample period is from 1st April 2018 to 26th July 2018. Due to the irregular nature in the ordering of such items (for example items are likely to be purchased in bulk ready for use throughout the year), these figures are not indicative of an annual volume. 

Plastic Items

School

Staff Restaurant

Total

CLEAR PLASTIC PORTION POT

2,500

 

2,500

CUPS

1,000

 

1,000

DESSERT SPOONS

8,000

 

8,000

DISPOSABLE CUPS

 

4,000

4,000

HALF PINT TUMBLERS

 

300

300

LIDS FOR SAPPHIRE BOWLS

1,000

 

1,000

LIDS FOR 4OZ PORTION POT

2,500

 

2,500

LIDS FOR PLASTIC PORTION POT

7,500

 

7,500

LIDS FOR SAPPHIRE BOWLS

4,000

1,000

5,000

LIDS WITHOUT STRAW SLOT

4,000

1,000

5,000

PLASTIC DESSERT SPOONS

4,000

 

4,000

PLASTIC FORKS

26,000

 

26,000

PLASTIC KNIVES

2,000

 

2,000

PLASTIC PORTION POT

5,000

 

5,000

SAPPHIRE BOWLS

5,000

1,000

6,000

SIP THRU LIDS

4,000

2,000

6,000

STRAW SLOT LID

4,000

 

4,000

STRAWS

6,000

 

6,000

TRIFLE DISH

2,000

 

2,000

TUMBLERS

3,000

2,000

5,000

Total

91,500

11,300

102,800

 

Number of plastic cups ordered for the water dispensers in the Ty Penallta building:

2015/16 - 4,000 cups

2016/17 - 7,000 cups

2017/18 - 14,000 cups