Leeds has, this month, joined 25 other major European cities including Copenhagen, Milan and Helsinki, in signing a declaration on reducing plastic pollution.
The declaration, which is being implemented by the European network EUROCITIES, encourages cities to take a more active role and holistic approach to reducing plastic pollution. As part of the pledge Leeds has committed to developing strategies to reduce plastic pollution, implement measures to reduce the use of unnecessary plastics and raise awareness among residents about the problems caused by plastic pollution.
The EUROCITIES pledge forms part of the global initiative, Plastic Smart Cities, which has partnered with WWF (The World Wide Fund for Nature), to provide a knowledge sharing platform on plastic pollution, encouraging collaboration between global stakeholders. Leeds will feature on the Plastic Smart Cities website, providing an opportunity to showcase the city’s best practices in this area to a global audience.
Reducing plastic pollution is high on the agenda at Leeds City Council, with the City introducing a resolution in 2018 to phase out all avoidable single-use plastics by the Council and its supply chain. This includes steps to end the sale and provision of single use plastic products such as bottles, cups and cutlery at Council buildings, and work with event organisers to replace disposable plastic cups at city-wide events. The resolution also looks to work with the Council’s suppliers and local businesses to support the phase out of single use plastics.
Other steps are being taken to engage the wider community to reduce the amount of plastic they use. This includes the introduction of segregated recycling on-the-go in Leeds city centre through work with environmental charity Hubbub, under the branding of‘#LeedsByExample’.
#LeedsByExample introduced 124 eye-catching recycling points across the city, which led to recycling in Leeds city centre doubling from 12 to 32%, with 600,000 coffee cups, 65,000 cans and 55,000 plastic bottles recycled. The campaign was funded with the support of major retailers and manufacturers including Starbucks, Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Nestle.