Dawn In The Surrey Hills

Creating a greener, cleaner Surrey

Surrey Environment Partnership Review April 2019 – March 2020

Activity and achievements

Reducing single-use plastics

empty plastic bags, containers, bottlesIn line with national policy, the reduction of single-use plastics (SUP) has become a priority for many local authorities across the UK and elsewhere.

In response Surrey County Council, working closely with representatives from the partnership, led the development of a single-use plastics strategy for Surrey. In January 2019, SEP members agreed:

  1. That the SUP strategy and action plan would be formally adopted by each partner authority and published on each authorities’ website.
  2. All authorities would fully engage in the implementation of the strategy including eliminating SUP across their own estates and operations and taking an active part in joint work-streams to deliver county-wide objectives.
  3. SEP would take ownership of the SUP strategy implementation by governing and monitoring the overall progress.

1. Getting our house in orderEnd the sale and provision of SUP products in order to phase out their use across our own estates and operations (where there is a clear case for it and alternatives exist).
2. Working with our suppliers and contractorsEnsure that our procurement policies and procedures require all of our suppliers to reduce and work towards zero avoidable SUP use (when applicable) in their service provision including at any events that take place.

Support greater awareness and action from our suppliers and contractors in finding sustainable SUP replacements wherever appropriate and encourage higher recycling rates across our estates.
3. Raising awareness across SurreyShare best practice, raise awareness and support our staff, members, partners, communities, schools, businesses, hospitals and beyond towards making their own locations avoidable plastic-free zones.
4. Supporting Surrey to take actionWith the support of our partner authorities, innovate and encourage people in Surrey to reduce their SUP use, with a particular focus on busy public locations, and other areas where local authorities have control or influence.

SEP would take ownership of the single-use plastics (SUP) strategy implementation by governing and monitoring the overall progress.

2019-20 highlights

Water Refilling StationHighlights of SEP’s work on single-use plastics over the past year include:

  • 10 Surrey authorities have formally adopted the strategy or pledged their commitment.
  • The SUP task group has met quarterly to share ideas.
  • The partnership funded the installation of two water fountains in Leatherhead and Guildford which were publicised to local residents by the relevant authorities.
  • Work to encourage businesses to participate in the national refill scheme resulted in 541 refill stations being available across Surrey by the end of March 2020.
  • Messages encouraging residents to make use of the refill scheme were shared across SEP’s digital channels.
  • The task group has shared good practice with Surrey Heartlands Sustainability Network by presenting the approach, findings and actions of the waste audit carried out in Surrey County Council offices. The progress on work carried out on ‘keeping our house in order’ in some of the district and borough offices were also shared.

Individual authority improvements

A range of improvements have also been made by individual partners.

These vary by authority, but include:

  • Premise audits to identify where SUP reductions could be made.
  • An updated procurement policy which references SUP reduction for new suppliers and contractors.
  • A SUP staff awareness day.
  • A ‘zero waste box’ initiative to showcase alternatives to SUP items.
  • Business engagement.

Activities authorities stopped doing include:

  • Supplying plastic cups except in the reception area to mitigate health and safety risks.
  • Ordering plastic milk portions.
  • Providing plastic bottled drinks.
  • Ordering drinks vending cups and lids.
  • Providing plastic cups.
  • Providing single use coffee cups in the canteen.

Activities that authorities started doing include:

  • Providing reusable water bottles to staff.
  • Encouraging staff to bring their own reusable bottles.
  • Using jugs and glasses for large events.
  • Replacing soap dispensers with a plastic insert refill in office toilets with reusable ones.

See also

Surrey’s target


70% of Surrey’s waste should be recycled.