Town council in ambitious bid to go ‘plastic free’

Huntingdon Town Hall, home of the town council. Picture; ARCHANT

Huntingdon Town Hall, home of the town council. Picture; ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Huntingdon has made becoming a plastic-free community its “ultimate aim”, town clerk Philip Peacock has said.

The town council has already carried out an in-depth audit of the types of plastic in use at the town hall and this is being extended to other buildings belonging to the authority.

Hirers of the town hall and Medway Centre could find themselves being asked not to bring in disposable items such as knives, forks and cups for their events and the council is looking at alternatives for the plastic compost bags at the King George V depot.

Its estates team is also aiming to be peat free by 2022 and is looking into replacement compostable materials.

Mr Peacock said that earlier this year the council had pledged to continue its efforts to create a more sustainable environment.

"The council will be forming a steering group to move the pledge forward and it is hoped that by working with key stakeholders in the town we can support and promote several environmental projects across Huntingdon," he said.

"Projects discussed so far have included the creation of an Eco Huntingdon Facebook page, reducing the town council's carbon footprint and the introduction of water refill and terracycling points."

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Mr Peacock said: "Becoming a 'plastic-free community' is the ultimate aim for the town and we welcome input from any individuals or organisations who wish to be involved.

"It is crucial that we all work together as a local community to start making positive changes in our bid to create a more sustainable environment."

Huntingdon is joining communities across the country seeking to become plastic free and looking at ways of reducing plastic consumption, especially with single use items. The move follows growing awareness of the harm plastic can cause to the environment.

The town council has set up a plastic free steering group and has invited a range of bodies, including Huntingdon BID, High Street businesses, the district council, schools, Hartford Conservation Group and the Friends of Riverside Park and Coneygear Park to join in.

The environmental audit of the town hall showed hirers were using disposable cutlery when reusable items could be provided, there was a lack of recycling bins for sorting materials, plastic-wrapped dishwasher tablets could be replaced and alternatives to plastic-wrapped sandwich platters found.

The survey showed that plastic could be reduced by buying bigger packages of cleaning materials and it also highlighted looking into options for disposing of non-recyclable food packaging.