Council continues fight for plastic bag-free Oxford

Oxford Mail: City councillor Graham Jones has taken up the fight for a levy on plastic bags to cut the 30 million used in Oxfordshire every year City councillor Graham Jones has taken up the fight for a levy on plastic bags to cut the 30 million used in Oxfordshire every year

OXFORD City Council is still attempting to rid itself of plastic carrier bags – almost six years after trying to become the first city to do so.

The council has officially called on Parliament to impose a plastic bags levy on shops after Lib Dem councillor Graham Jones tabled a motion to the full council on Monday. The motion was unanimously approved.

Dr Jones said he wanted to see a decline in the number of bags issued, and a levy was answer.

He said: “It’s proved that way in all the other countries in the British Isles, it’s proved that way in other member states of the European Union.

“Even countries like Somalia are ahead of us on this. We’re way behind and we really need to look at it.”

He said that until the Ardley energy-from-waste facility near Bicester opens in 2015, Oxfordshire would still be sending large amounts of waste to landfill, a large proportion of which would be plastic bags.

He said: “If a levy was brought in during the next Parliamentary session, Oxfordshire could save a year’s landfill charge and do the equivalent of taking 160 cars off the road.

“Oxfordshire citizens get through 30 million bags a year – around 200 per person.”

In June 2007, then council leader John Goddard said he was writing to supermarkets, shops and stores in Oxford asking them to ditch plastic bags and cut packaging.

He had previously discussed trying to pass a bylaw banning plastic bags but was told by the council’s legal experts this would not work.

Matt Chapman, assistant manager of the Truck Store record shop in Cowley Road, said he didn’t think a levy was needed on bags given out by small independent shop.

He said: “We always offer a carrier bag, but a lot of people choose not to have one. We get ours made for us from an independent company, and they’re the right size for our specific products.”

He said he thought supermarkets should deal with the cost of the levy by absorbing it and putting up prices across their ranges.

He said: “I’m sure most people would rather pay an extra 1p for a can of beans than pay the 5p when they get to the till.”

The motion passed said that the council “noted with dismay that last year eight billion ‘thin-gauge’ plastic bags were issued in the UK, an increase of more than five per cent over 2010”.

It also referred to the fact a levy had already been brought in by the Republic of Ireland and in Wales, where the number of bags issued had dropped by 90 per cent.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman Nisar Hussain said: “We want to work with retailers to help them lift their game to cut the number of bags they hand out.

“We are monitoring the results of the charging scheme in Wales and the outcome of Scottish consultation on a charge so that we can make a fully informed decision.”

Comments (12)

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7:38pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

For goodness sake.

Surely the photographer should have warned him to zip up his trousers up before taking the picture!
For goodness sake. Surely the photographer should have warned him to zip up his trousers up before taking the picture! Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 5

10:16pm Thu 28 Feb 13

mytaxes says...

Why not concentrate on reducing our council tax instead of this nonsense.
Why not concentrate on reducing our council tax instead of this nonsense. mytaxes
  • Score: 2

5:25am Fri 1 Mar 13

bcole says...

Just thought I`d let you know that Adelaide, in south australia, did this about four years ago, it works well here,reduces landfill, leaves a lot less litter, and we are all used to the change, most people purchase fabric bags, and replace them if they get soiled.
I am ex- oxford for nearly 40 years now, but keep up with oxford via oxford mail online.
Just thought I`d let you know that Adelaide, in south australia, did this about four years ago, it works well here,reduces landfill, leaves a lot less litter, and we are all used to the change, most people purchase fabric bags, and replace them if they get soiled. I am ex- oxford for nearly 40 years now, but keep up with oxford via oxford mail online. bcole
  • Score: 0

7:44am Fri 1 Mar 13

bart-on simpson says...

Another Lib Dem ready for "sexy" action!
LOL.

Seriuosly, I have four cotton bags given to me by a well-known bilateral aid agency, and that is my shopping bags sorted.

A local sandwich shop added just 2p for a plastic bag and see how many people carried their lunch in their hand!
Another Lib Dem ready for "sexy" action! LOL. Seriuosly, I have four cotton bags given to me by a well-known bilateral aid agency, and that is my shopping bags sorted. A local sandwich shop added just 2p for a plastic bag and see how many people carried their lunch in their hand! bart-on simpson
  • Score: 3

10:39am Fri 1 Mar 13

callum1 says...

Ordinarily I would have loads to say about how foolish it would be to burn plastic bags, when these are readily recycled, but today I'll let others say it for me:

According to Government policy: “Burning plastics has a general net, adverse greenhouse gas impact due to the release of fossil carbon…”
- Waste Strategy for England 2007, Chapter 4, Paragraph 18, available from: http://archive.defra
.gov.uk/environment/
waste/strategy/strat
egy07/index.htm

“…when plastics are switched from landfill to incineration, the net impact in terms of climate change is, under most reasonable assumptions, strongly negative.”
- The Scottish Government's Impact Assessment for the Landfill Tax Bill 2012, available from: http://www.scotland.
gov.uk/Resource/0040
/00405804.pdf

"Today, even in countries with high recovery rates, there is simply not enough plastic available for recycling because most of it goes to energy recovery. A dominance of energy recovery over recycling is not acceptable in the medium-term…”
– European Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik, Any Future for the Plastic Industry in Europe? Janez Potocnik, 21 September 2012. Available from: http://europa.eu/rap
id/pressReleasesActi
on.do?reference=SPEE
CH/12/632&format=HTM
L&aged=0&language=EN
&guiLanguage=en

“Incineration with energy recovery performs poorly with respect to climate change impact…As the UK moves to a lower-carbon energy mix, recycling will become increasingly favoured.”
- Environmental Benefits of Recycling – 2010 Update. WRAP, March 2010. Available from: http://www.wrap.org.
uk/downloads/
Environmental_benefi
ts_of_recycling_2010
_update.ec0924ed.881
6.pdf
Ordinarily I would have loads to say about how foolish it would be to burn plastic bags, when these are readily recycled, but today I'll let others say it for me: According to Government policy: “Burning plastics has a general net, adverse greenhouse gas impact due to the release of fossil carbon…” - Waste Strategy for England 2007, Chapter 4, Paragraph 18, available from: http://archive.defra .gov.uk/environment/ waste/strategy/strat egy07/index.htm “…when plastics are switched from landfill to incineration, the net impact in terms of climate change is, under most reasonable assumptions, strongly negative.” - The Scottish Government's Impact Assessment for the Landfill Tax Bill 2012, available from: http://www.scotland. gov.uk/Resource/0040 /00405804.pdf "Today, even in countries with high recovery rates, there is simply not enough plastic available for recycling because most of it goes to energy recovery. A dominance of energy recovery over recycling is not acceptable in the medium-term…” – European Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik, Any Future for the Plastic Industry in Europe? Janez Potocnik, 21 September 2012. Available from: http://europa.eu/rap id/pressReleasesActi on.do?reference=SPEE CH/12/632&format=HTM L&aged=0&language=EN &guiLanguage=en “Incineration [of plastics] with energy recovery performs poorly with respect to climate change impact…As the UK moves to a lower-carbon energy mix, recycling will become increasingly favoured.” - Environmental Benefits of Recycling – 2010 Update. WRAP, March 2010. Available from: http://www.wrap.org. uk/downloads/ Environmental_benefi ts_of_recycling_2010 _update.ec0924ed.881 6.pdf callum1
  • Score: 0

12:24pm Fri 1 Mar 13

King Joke says...

mytaxes wrote:
Why not concentrate on reducing our council tax instead of this nonsense.
Because we can't keep throwing the stuff in a 'king big hole, as we are running out of holes to throw it in.
[quote][p][bold]mytaxes[/bold] wrote: Why not concentrate on reducing our council tax instead of this nonsense.[/p][/quote]Because we can't keep throwing the stuff in a 'king big hole, as we are running out of holes to throw it in. King Joke
  • Score: 0

12:25pm Fri 1 Mar 13

King Joke says...

Kevin Webster Iffley Fields wrote:
Andrew:Oxford wrote: For goodness sake. Surely the photographer should have warned him to zip up his trousers up before taking the picture!
Not the best mistake considering the Lib Dem in the news at the moment. But this plastic bag nonsense, is just that, I use about 14 bags per week and they are all sent to recycling, in fact they save me a lot of money on liners for my waste, and recycling bins in the kitchen. Long may they be free, and Mr Truck store, why should you be exempt, and other Cowley Road retailers not.
Erm, you can't recycle plastic bags.
[quote][p][bold]Kevin Webster Iffley Fields[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: For goodness sake. Surely the photographer should have warned him to zip up his trousers up before taking the picture![/p][/quote]Not the best mistake considering the Lib Dem in the news at the moment. But this plastic bag nonsense, is just that, I use about 14 bags per week and they are all sent to recycling, in fact they save me a lot of money on liners for my waste, and recycling bins in the kitchen. Long may they be free, and Mr Truck store, why should you be exempt, and other Cowley Road retailers not.[/p][/quote]Erm, you can't recycle plastic bags. King Joke
  • Score: 0

2:58pm Fri 1 Mar 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

King Joke wrote:
Kevin Webster Iffley Fields wrote:
Andrew:Oxford wrote: For goodness sake. Surely the photographer should have warned him to zip up his trousers up before taking the picture!
Not the best mistake considering the Lib Dem in the news at the moment. But this plastic bag nonsense, is just that, I use about 14 bags per week and they are all sent to recycling, in fact they save me a lot of money on liners for my waste, and recycling bins in the kitchen. Long may they be free, and Mr Truck store, why should you be exempt, and other Cowley Road retailers not.
Erm, you can't recycle plastic bags.
Then why do they collect them at supermarkets for recycling?
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kevin Webster Iffley Fields[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: For goodness sake. Surely the photographer should have warned him to zip up his trousers up before taking the picture![/p][/quote]Not the best mistake considering the Lib Dem in the news at the moment. But this plastic bag nonsense, is just that, I use about 14 bags per week and they are all sent to recycling, in fact they save me a lot of money on liners for my waste, and recycling bins in the kitchen. Long may they be free, and Mr Truck store, why should you be exempt, and other Cowley Road retailers not.[/p][/quote]Erm, you can't recycle plastic bags.[/p][/quote]Then why do they collect them at supermarkets for recycling? Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

3:06pm Fri 1 Mar 13

King Joke says...

Supermarkets might be able to recycle them but this is a very limited scheme. As with any scheme requiring people to be bothered to go somewhere to recycle, it is only going to capture a tiny proportion of the totality of that type of waste. I'm guessing less than 5% of the plastic bags issued nationally are recycled through these collection points, which just isn't good enough and shouldn't be used as a justification for continuing the issue of plastic bags. Only a kerbside scheme would be good enough. We should be charging 5-10p a bag so only people who really, really need them will take one.
Supermarkets might be able to recycle them but this is a very limited scheme. As with any scheme requiring people to be bothered to go somewhere to recycle, it is only going to capture a tiny proportion of the totality of that type of waste. I'm guessing less than 5% of the plastic bags issued nationally are recycled through these collection points, which just isn't good enough and shouldn't be used as a justification for continuing the issue of plastic bags. Only a kerbside scheme would be good enough. We should be charging 5-10p a bag so only people who really, really need them will take one. King Joke
  • Score: 4

8:41pm Fri 1 Mar 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

King Joke wrote:
Supermarkets might be able to recycle them but this is a very limited scheme. As with any scheme requiring people to be bothered to go somewhere to recycle, it is only going to capture a tiny proportion of the totality of that type of waste. I'm guessing less than 5% of the plastic bags issued nationally are recycled through these collection points, which just isn't good enough and shouldn't be used as a justification for continuing the issue of plastic bags. Only a kerbside scheme would be good enough. We should be charging 5-10p a bag so only people who really, really need them will take one.
I'd still take as many as I needed (and to separate food and non-food).

Then use them as bin-bags to save buying some.
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: Supermarkets might be able to recycle them but this is a very limited scheme. As with any scheme requiring people to be bothered to go somewhere to recycle, it is only going to capture a tiny proportion of the totality of that type of waste. I'm guessing less than 5% of the plastic bags issued nationally are recycled through these collection points, which just isn't good enough and shouldn't be used as a justification for continuing the issue of plastic bags. Only a kerbside scheme would be good enough. We should be charging 5-10p a bag so only people who really, really need them will take one.[/p][/quote]I'd still take as many as I needed (and to separate food and non-food). Then use them as bin-bags to save buying some. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 1

9:12am Mon 4 Mar 13

King Joke says...

Good Andrew, that's exactly the kind of behaviour a charge should be driving. It's what I do.
Good Andrew, that's exactly the kind of behaviour a charge should be driving. It's what I do. King Joke
  • Score: 0

2:40pm Wed 6 Mar 13

gymrat34 says...

Nothing wrong with a few carrier bags, I reuse them for my small household bins.
Nothing wrong with a few carrier bags, I reuse them for my small household bins. gymrat34
  • Score: 0

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