York businesses and residents unite to take on plastic

Businesses and residents from across York came together earlier this week to tackle the issue of plastic.

Held at the Mansion House the event looked at the impact plastic is having on our environment and the various initiatives taking place in the city to help the environment by reducing plastic use.

The lead speaker was Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of York and series scientific advisor for the Blue Planet. Professor Roberts spoke about his first hand experience of the impact plastic is having on the seas and oceans across the world.

Professor Callum Roberts said: "We urgently need to change our casual attitude to single use plastics. It cannot be right that a plastic bottle we use for minutes should have an afterlife of hundreds of years polluting the environment."

"When it comes to plastic, we have discovered that there is no 'away' in throwing away. The tide of plastic waste is rising fast around us and if we don't act now it will soon overwhelm us."

Following Professor Roberts’ speech, the room heard about the work Refill, i am reusable and Yorkshire Water’s Yorkshire on Tap are doing to encourage people to use reusable bottles, as well as asking businesses to sign up to schemes offering free tap water in consumers own refill containers. Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health at City of York Council also spoke about the health benefits of drinking water.

The event was supported by City of York Council, i am reusable, Yorkshire Water, Yorwaste and Refill.

Richard Emmott, Director of Communications at Yorkshire Water said: “We have all seen the devastating effects plastic bottles can have on the environment. Yorkshire on Tap is our commitment to change that.

“We have set a target of removing one millions plastic bottles from circulation throughout the county. We know it is certainly a challenge but we have had great support from the public and local businesses.

“We are thrilled that York Council will join us and hopefully we can make a real difference.”