Councillors urge pubs, bars and licensed premises to join battle against plastic pollution

Published: Friday 16th March 18

Two leading councillors have written to more than a thousand local businesses urging them to join the campaign to reduce plastic pollution.

Wandsworth Council is already working to phase out all unnecessary plastic usage in all its buildings.

Now local pubs, bars, restaurants and take-aways are being called on to stop using unnecessary plastics like straws.

And with boat race season almost upon us and thousands of rowing fans expected to descend on the pubs and bars of Putney to watch the world famous University boat race, calls are being made for these businesses to sell drinks in reusable plastic glasses rather than the flimsy single use types often used when people attending largescale sporting events.

Thousands of these single use plastics are expected to be used on boat race weekend and the fear is that some could end up in the River Thames, adding to the river and sea pollution most worrying scientists.

In their jointly written letter the council’s cabinet member for employment, skills and business development Kim Caddy and the chairman of the borough’s licensing committee Cllr Guy Humphries said: “We have all read about the devastating impact that plastics are having on our environment.

“Around eight million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year which has a devastating impact on wildlife. Reducing plastic pollution is a priority for Wandsworth Council which is why we are not writing to seek your active support and involvement.

“For our part Wandsworth Council is recycling as much plastic as possible. We have also installed drinking fountains in our major parks to prevent the need for people to buy non-reusable water bottles.

“By working with valued partners, like you, we can do even more.”

Their words echo those of the leader of the council Ravi Govindia who said earlier this month: “Local authorities must take a stance on this issue and I want Wandsworth to be leading the way in London in tackling plastic pollution.

“We are committed to reducing the use of plastics, which as we know have a devastating effect on the environment and our wildlife. 

“Around eight million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year and it’s an obvious step to see what we can do as a council to play our part in getting rid of plastics from all the buildings we own and manage.”

The council will also be working with local schools, community groups and its waste management partners with the aim of seeing a reduction in the use of plastic across the boroughe.

Councillor Govindia added: “Just doing something as simple as switching from a disposable plastic bottle to one that is reusable can make a big difference. It’s about getting people to change their behaviours – we can all do our bit to help.”

People can also be assured that none of the plastic collected through Wandsworth’s waste and recycling collection services will ever find its way into the ocean.

The council offers a recycling service for plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays. These should be washed and/or rinsed before being placed in recycling sacks or banks.  

And all plastic that finds its way into general household waste is taken by barge to an energy-from-waste incinerator at Belvedere, where it helps generate enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes in London. 

The council also has drinking water fountains in Battersea Park and also on Tooting Common, which was refurbished and renovated and brought back into public use as part of the ongoing Tooting Common Heritage Project.

Clean plastic packaging films bearing the “Recycle with carrier bags at larger stores” logo can be recycled at most supermarkets.

The council is also exploring new ways in which recycled plastics can be used. This week senior councillors and officers met recycling industry chiefs who are devising new uses for recycled plastic, including as a replacement for bitumen in road building and resurfacing.

For more information about the borough’s recycling services visit

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Recent comments

I back almost anything that will reduce our use of plastic, ie. straws, bottles, plastic cups/pints, etc. well done for taking the steps to change things.
suzanne Stables

18 March 2018

Banning straws seems a poor effort. Water and milk sold in plastic bottles are key areas to resolve ASAP and should be a priority before straws?
steve bassnett

18 March 2018

Great news that Wandsworth is getting even more involved with plastic reduction. I have often wondered why there aren't drinking fountains in parks and even put forward a scheme at the time of the olympics in 2012. Having fountains in 2 parks is a great start but I look forward to more, indeed every park should have drinking water. Runners need to have water or carry a bottle and plastic is often the only alternative.
Paige Barry

17 March 2018