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New campaign aims to tackle single-use plastic in Sheffield

The Plastic Free Sheffield Central action group want to see local businesses move away from items like disposable coffee cups and condiment sachets.

Plastic free wilmslow

Campaigners against single-use plastic in Wilmslow, Cheshire.

Surfers Against Sewage.

Campaigners have launched a new project to reduce the use of environmentally damaging single-use plastic in the Sheffield Central constituency.

Plastic Free Sheffield Central hope to bring together some of the city's biggest organisations and ask them to make commitments to reduce their use of plastic.

This could see local businesses switch away from single-use coffee cups, plastic bags and throw-away utensils, as well as balloons, condiment sachets and bathroom plastics like disposable razors.

"I'd love to see the Sheffield community, whether that's individuals, businesses, community groups, schools or events, uniting together to strongly demand a reduction in single-use plastics," organiser Greg Hewitt told Now Then.

"This has happened before with tree felling proposals – it can happen again with plastic pollution."

According to the Surfers Against Sewage campaign, carbon emissions from plastic production are set to more than treble by 2050, with 99% of plastic being made from fossil fuels.

Around 38.5 million plastic bottles are bought every day in the UK, with around half ending up in the environment or in landfill or being burnt.

The UK also uses 7 million disposable coffee cups every day, while supermarkets in this country distribute 112,000 pieces of plastic packaging every minute.

Scientists estimate that between 5 and 13 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year, and that one in three dead seabirds are found to have balloons in their stomachs.

The new group will work towards achieving Plastic Free Community Approved status for the Sheffield Central constituency, which is awarded by Surfers Against Sewage.

To do this, they will ask local businesses to stop using at least three single-use plastic items, and put a plan in place to identify and tackle the rest. They will encourage Sheffield Council to lead by example and remove single-use plastic from their own premises and their wider operations.

The new group may also host a 'mass unwrap', which would see supermarket shoppers leaving unnecessary packaging in the shop, highlighting how much waste is produced in a short time.

"Plastic Free Sheffield Central is a great opportunity to inspire more businesses and communities to abandon single use plastics and offer alternative options by spreading the word and sharing best practices," said new group member Marketa Rychla.

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