A Vision for Plastic-Free July

23 July 2019

Green Party councillor, Jamie Osborn, is stepping up a campaign to reduce the amount of plastic that is used in Norwich by putting a motion to Norwich City Council. Councillor Osborn’s motion asks the council to support Plastic Free July in 2020, giving organisations and businesses a year to reduce the use of plastic which is often used only once and thrown away.

Plastic Free July is a global movement which encourages people not to buy single-use plastics, from broccoli or cucumber wrappings to plastic bags, bottles, cups and straws. The movement encourages people to ‘use what they have, buy second hand and support local businesses’.

Councillor Osborn said:

“Over the last month I’ve been out talking to people across the city, from market traders to the founders of the two new zero-waste shops and other businesses, to people on the doorstep, to people running events about ways they think plastic waste can be reduced. It won’t be easy. We’re not talking here about tinkering with plastic versus paper straws, the smallest possible things, although we need to do that too. Businesses and people in Norwich are already thinking outside the Tupperware box, and the council has a role to play in supporting that innovation. Those ideas can be affordable and practical, and we’ll see the benefits in reduced cost of waste clear-up. It’s a chance to make Norwich shine as a destination.”

Councillor Osborn has supported traders on Norwich market who are aiming to use less plastic packaging and is encouraging everyone in the city to use less plastic.

Disposing of plastic is a global problem. On 10th May this year, mixed plastic scrap was added to the Basel Convention, the treaty that controls the international movement of hazardous waste.

Councillor Lesley Grahame, who will be seconding Councillor Osborn’s motion, said:

“So many things we buy from the supermarket are contained in plastic, including cleaning products, food and everyday household items such as batteries and toilet paper. It’s an old message now, but it’s still important to reduce, re-use and recycle. I would add ‘repair’ to that list and encourage everyone to use items for as long as possible.”

 Cllr Jamie Osborn pledges to go Plastic-Free in July

Download the pledge here.


1. Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution: https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/

2. The motion to the July meeting of Norwich City Council, proposed by Councillor Osborn and seconded by Councillor Grahame is:

The world’s annual consumption of plastic materials has increased from around 5 million tonnes in the 1950s to nearly 100 million tonnes today. 

In 2016, this council committed to become a ‘single-use-plastic-free’ authority by the end of 2017. Since then, the dangers of plastic pollution have been shown to be even more harmful than previously known.

The impact of plastic waste is a burden on the city; flytipping and litter affect our communities.

Norwich now has two zero-waste shops, and Plastic-Free July offers an opportunity to join a growing movement of forward-thinking councils and organisations avoiding plastic. 

Council RESOLVES to: 

(1) support Plastic-Free July in 2020 and thereafter by actively promoting the initiative to discourage plastic use, including with the business community and partners, including: 

a) holding workshops and events; and

b) engaging the public and business communities in bin audits before, during and after Plastic-Free July to identify how much and which types of plastic are currently being used, raise awareness, and set SMART targets to reduce this waste

(2) carry out bin audits in council buildings to identify how much and which types of plastic are currently being used, and set SMART targets to reduce the waste of these items ahead of Plastic-Free July 2020;

(3) support market and street traders to end the supply of disposable plastics, and ask the cabinet to investigate the potential to introduce a Norwich equivalent of the “Freiburg Cup”, a reusable cup that can be returned for a small deposit to any participating business, to support market traders and other businesses in the transition away from single-use plastics, and to promote Norwich Market as a plastic-free market; 

(4) ask cabinet to investigate establishing a “Plastic-Free Zone” programme that businesses can sign up to, to show that they avoid plastic where possible; 

(5) ask cabinet to assess what more can be done to phase out plastics in procurement for Norwich City Council;

(6) work with partners to end plastic waste in events in Norwich, such as the Lord Mayor’s Parade and Run Norwich;

(7) ask cabinet to investigate how businesses that actively seek to reduce plastic waste can be supported, and work with partners including the New Anglia LEP and Norfolk Chambers of Commerce to achieve this; and

(8) establish regular repair cafés; or support community groups to do so.

3. The question Councillor Osborn is asking the city council cabinet is:

In September 2016, Norwich City Council passed a motion to ‘encourage traders on Norwich Market to sell re-usable containers and invite customers to bring their own, with the aim of phasing out SUP (single-use plastic) containers and cutlery on the Market Stalls by the end of 2017’. As we are now halfway through 2019, could the cabinet member tell me what progress has been made as a result of this resolution?

4. The Basel Conventionhttps://www.environment.gov.au/protection/hazardous-waste/conventions

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