Thursley Nature Reserve In The Surrey Hills

Annual review

Surrey Environment Partnership
April 2020 – March 2021

Activity and achievements 2020-21

Reducing single-use plastics

In 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 SCC, working closely with representatives from the partnership, led the development of a single-use plastics strategy for Surrey. The strategy includes a five-year action plan to deliver the following set of objectives:

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.

Products in single use plastics

Progress in 2020-21

A womans hand holds a shopping bagWhile some good overall progress has been made, delivery of this strategy has been very challenging, and there hasn’t always been enough resource within local authorities to dedicate time to addressing this issue.

The coronavirus pandemic has also meant that certain disposable items, such as gloves, masks and wipes, are essential, and the use of some reusable receptacles (for example in coffee shops) has been discouraged.

During 2020-21, guidance on SUP reduction was gathered from Government and external organisations and best practice from local authorities was collated. A report on this review has been drafted and distributed to partners to help them deliver the ‘getting our house in order’ aims of the SUP strategy.

A number of national developments may have a positive impact on the amount of plastic waste generated in Surrey. This means that some of the actions in the joint strategy may become less relevant in the future.

National developments:

  • A ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds that came into effect on 1 October 2020.
  • The 5p single-use carrier bag charge was extended to all retailers and increased to 10p from April 2021.
  • Reform of the UK packaging producer responsibility system as part of the extended producer responsibility proposals in the new national waste strategy.
  • The DRS proposed as part of the new national waste strategy may increase the recycling of SUP drinks containers.
  • The introduction of a tax on plastic packaging that does not meet a minimum threshold of recycled content, which is due to come into effect from April 2022.

The 5p single-use carrier bag charge was extended to all retailers and increased to 10p from April 2021.

See also

Surrey’s target


70% of Surrey’s waste should be recycled.