Why Single Use Plastics (SUPs)?

SUPs are terrible for the environment and can easily be replaced with biodegradable alternatives.

  • An estimated 9 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year, which is the equivalent of dumping one rubbish truck into the ocean every minute.
  • In 2016, 1/3 of fish surveyed on the South Coast of England contained plastic and by weight, there could be more plastic in our oceans than there are fish, by the year 2050.
  • A plastic straw is in use for just 20 minutes on average, but will last in our environment for up to 600 years.
  • Plastic bags and microbeads make up just 2% of single-use plastics, whereas single-use drinks containers accounts for a third of marine plastic litter.
  • In the UK, 44% of the 35 million plastic bottles bought every day are not recycled, leaving 16 million plastic bottles every day ending up in the environment.
  • The League of Friends Shop at Medway Hospital has already been using compostable cups for the past 6 months.
  • Many other local councils have already made a commitment to go “SUP-Free”, with cross-party support in Rushcliffe, Mendip, Brighton & Hove and Norwich.

What happened?

Medway Labour Group have successfully persuaded Medway Council to become a single-use plastic-free (SUP-free) authority with a motion to council. Our motion suggested the council set themselves a six month target to be an SUP-free authority, but this was watered down (no pun intended!) to ‘as soon as practically possible’. We still think six months is a reasonable time scale, and have been disappointed to see the Conservatives still using SUP cups and water bottles in committee meetings.

What next?

We will continue to put pressure on the council to speed up their commitment to being an SUP-free authority, and we hope to lead the way on future green initiatives. Our hope is that the council will lead the way and set an example for businesses and individuals in Medway to make environmentally friendly choices.

“I’ve been campaigning on environmental issues for 20 years by promoting recycling, organising community litter picks, calling for investment in renewable energy and air quality, so it’s really satisfying to be making progress on plastics.” Cllr Andy Stamp, Councillor for Gillingham North and Medway Labour Spokesperson for Communities and Regeneration
Cllr Andy Stamp, Councillor for Gillingham North and Medway Labour Spokesperson for Communities and Regeneration
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