The key points are:
• The purpose of the plan is to reduce unnecessary single-use plastics (SUP) in the government estate.
• Government defines SUP items as those intended to be used only once before being thrown away.
• Its core aim is to support a transition from a throwaway society and the persistent use of SUP in keeping with the New Decade, New Approach Document commitment to eliminate plastic pollution and also to support the Green Growth Strategy.
• The plan provides guidance and instruction on the removal of SUP from the central government estate offices, to be carried out by all government departments, their Executive Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies. A formal Procurement Policy Note will underpin the plan.
• DoF’s Construction & Procurement Delivery (CPD) along with DAERA’s Central Services and Contingency Planning Agency have been involved in the development of the action plan.
• The plan is currently being phased in working towards a ban on unnecessary single use plastic by October 2021. This should allow all departments adequate time to adjust relevant contracts. After one year, progress will be reviewed and measures refined or strengthened.
• The actions in the plan are grouped into two main areas –
- raising awareness and changing behaviour across NICS; and
- working with our suppliers and contractors.
• Departments will work with their suppliers to replace existing SUP items/materials/activities with non-SUP alternatives in both existing and new contracts.
• Relevant suppliers will be asked to develop plans, identifying those items able to be replaced. The broad categories that these items fall into are;
- Cleaning (e.g. wipes, brushes, scouring pads, soap, consumables, dishwasher tablets, bags),
- Catering (e.g. condiment containers, sachets, tea bags, shrink-wrap, milk bottles, bags); and
- Tableware and Takeaway (e.g. cups, cutlery, stirrers, straws, takeaway boxes).
• Departments should follow the waste hierarchy and promote prevention and reusable solutions wherever possible.
DAERA is part of the UK Plastics Pact initiative: https://www.wrap.org.uk/content/the-uk-plastics-pact