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Taking action on plastic

Published: 19 October 2021

We are doubling down on efforts to cut the use of single-use plastic with a commitment expected to drastically reduce the amount of unnecessary waste we produce.


At a meeting held last week (Thursday 12 October), Cabinet members approved a new approach in which staff will be supported to:

  • recognise and avoid buying and using single-use plastics for use in council buildings and services, where possible
  • look for more sustainable alternatives
  • where suitable alternatives aren’t available, make sure that single-use plastic products contain a recycled content of at least 30% or can themselves be recycled
  • work with suppliers to minimise their use of single-use plastics and encourage them to provide sustainable alternatives to any single-use plastic products they supply
  • work with event organisers to reduce and eliminate where possible single-use plastic across all Derbyshire events held on council land and property
  • raise awareness of the importance of disposing of single-use plastics properly to reduce the negative impact on wildlife, the environment and health
  • continue to help local communities and businesses by sharing best practice, supporting and promoting positive initiatives, campaigns and actions for reducing waste.

Single-use plastic can be described as any disposable plastic item designed to be used only once or for a short period of time. It is often used in packaging, consumer products, cosmetics, personal protective equipment and healthcare products.

There are some benefits to using single-use plastics such as in packaging to help maintain food safety and hygiene.

But plastic contributes to climate change because the chemicals used to make almost all plastics come from fossil fuel production. The more plastic that is made, the more petrochemicals are needed. And the more petrochemicals are needed, the higher the demand for fossil fuels such as gas, oil and coal.

Our commitment to reduce our use of single-use plastics is part of our drive to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2032 or sooner and help the rest of Derbyshire reduce carbon emissions generated within the county to net zero by 2050 or sooner. 

Net zero means reducing carbon emissions right down to the lowest possible level and off-setting those that cannot be cut through measures such as planting more trees and other forms of habitat creation to absorb excess carbon from the atmosphere, making the overall net emissions zero.

Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis said:

“We’ve all seen the pictures on TV of the damage plastic can cause to our marine life and wildlife if it isn’t disposed of correctly.

“By reducing single-use plastics or removing them where possible, we’re leading by example to help benefit the natural world, not just on the ground or in our oceans, but all around us.

“Derbyshire County Council is leading a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reduce carbon emissions generated in Derbyshire to help meet ambitious targets needed to tackle climate change.

“And reducing demand for carbon-emitting processes used in plastic production is a step forward on our journey to net zero carbon emissions.

“But reducing the amount of carbon emissions generated in Derbyshire isn’t something the county council can do on its own. We need everyone to play a part.

“It’s a big challenge but the benefits are massive. Changes we make now will help global issues like protecting our marine life from rising sea temperatures and local issues too like preventing recent extreme weather events from happening more regularly.”