Following the resounding triumph in Taunton Deane Council Meeting last week when the proposal by councillors to move towards a ban of single use plastic in council buildings and to work in cooperation with the University of Exeter on further challenges posed by plastic was passed unanimously. Professor Michael Howard, director of research and professor of supply chain management at the University of Exeter Business School, added: “Much of the time the challenge is in understanding the complexity of the problem, for example, manufacturers, refuse & recycling firms as well as our own local council’s priority. There is also some science needed, particularly in understanding any impacts to human health caused by plastics, the best way to deal with take-back and ‘reuse’ systems is discouraging landfill as an option, and current incineration methods are not ideal”.
Cllr Farbahi is delighted that senior academics will continue to advise Taunton Deane on adopting a multi-method approach in devising new methods of more sustainable packaging for food by local vendors and engaging with the public, encouraging them to become our partners as well as motivating manufacturers to support such schemes which move us away from traditional mixed plastic-cardboard which become contaminated with organic matter.
It is important that everyone understands the ‘bigger picture’. There is no doubt that we need to look at investing in R&D or centres of excellence. We should be turning Taunton in to a regional centre for excellence.
Cllr Farbahi will also be working to raise public awareness among the young, whose lives he feels will be most affected: “This is why I am hoping to engage with the schools as a part of our part two of our resolution. I would like to suggest that the working group considers approaching our partners such as Viridor, Kier and others to set up a competition for a possible solution to our single use plastics and a prize for the best strap line to be used county/nationwide on the effect of plastic in our environment”. He adds, “I am hopeful that Exeter and other universities will become more involved and invest in our town. I hope to see lots of innovative ideas coming forth as the cross-party group forms”.
We cannot allow our coastlines to become a micro plastic production line; UK was at the heart of industrial revolution in 1750s should we not be at the heart of “environmental revolution” now?