Oxford City Council To Ban Single Use Plastics For Street Traders

Oxford City Council is set to prohibit street traders from using single use plastics, following a decision of the Council’s licensing committee. The move comes after a push from Green Party Councillors Lois Muddiman and Rosie Rawle, alongside Liberal Democrat Councillor Katherine Miles.

Oxford City Council ran a consultation with the public on the proposals at the end of 2022. That consultation found that 79% wanted to see a ban introduced.

What Is Single Use Plastic?

It is a manufactured plastic that has been made to be used once and then disposed of. Most popular uses for single use plastic are predominately used in the food packaging industry for fruit, vegetables and other perishable items. Other uses are for straws, bags and bottles.

Single use plastic floating in the sea
Single use plastic is polluting our rivers and oceans

Why Is It So Bad For The Environment?

Single-use plastic is bad for the environment because it can take centuries to decompose. This means that the plastic is piling up in landfill sites and is often making its way into our rivers and oceans, where it is not only polluting the environment but also harming wildlife. Additionally, the production of single-use plastics requires a lot of energy and resources, making it an inefficient and unsustainable practice.

Following the decision, Green Party Councillor Lois Muddiman said:

“We know that single use plastics have a massive environmental impact – both in their production and their contribution to problems of littering. That’s why it’s incredibly welcome that the City Council has taken this crucial step in ensuring that street traders are required to use sustainable alternatives. 

“By taking this step, the Council is making a small but significant difference to Oxford’s environmental impact, helping to clean up our city and tackle the climate crisis.”

The ban on single use plastics is set to come into force from April 2023. This would be significantly earlier than the Westminster government’s proposed ban on single use plastics, which is set to come into force from October 2023. The government’s proposed ban would make it impossible to buy single-use plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks, and certain types of polystyrene cups and food containers from businesses.

The decision will be formally ratified at a meeting of all City Councillors.

Green Party Councillor Rosie Rawle, who also sits on Oxford City Council’s licensing committee said:

“Independent, small traders are the beating heart of Oxford’s economy. They are the businesses which give our city its unique character and are the places people come back to time and time again. 

“As significant players in the local economy, street traders have an important role to play in addressing our city’s environmental impact. Ending the use of single used plastics is one step they can take towards this.”

Facts About Plastic

  • Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland was the first person to invent it in 1907
  • Plastic is a man-made material meaning it doesn’t exist in nature
  • More than 40% of plastic is used once before being thrown away
  • It is estimated that 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our oceans
  • Sales of plastic bags have reduced by 95% in the UK since the introduction of the charging system
  •  Less than half of all plastic in England is recycled
  • 2 million plastic bags are used every second worldwide
Single use plastic covers our daily shopping items
Single use plastic covers our daily shopping items

What Can We Do To Reduce Single Use Plastics?

The WWF have advised of some simple tips on how to reduce the amount of single use plastics being thrown away.

Recycling plastics and reusing them will reduce the amount of single use plastic being manufactured and consumed. Reusable coffee cups, reusing carrier bags and using paper straws in our drinks are just a few ways to help the environment.