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Reduce, refill, recycle - there's no excuse for single use!

Lancaster City Council has pledged its support to tackling the scourge of plastic waste with the launch of a new campaign.

Reduce, refill, recycle

Reduce, refill, recycle

The campaign focusses on reducing single use plastic bottles and disposable coffee cups with the simple message of reduce, refill, recycle.


  • 79% of the plastic waste ever created is in the environment
  • The number of plastic bottles evading recycling could reach 29 billion over the four years up to the end of 2020
  • There are 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste on Earth
  • It is estimated that by 2050 plastic in the oceans will outweigh all fish
  • It is estimated that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean
  • Plastic waste generated by the UK annually is 5 million tonnes
  • Of the 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups lined with plastic which are used and thrown away each year in the UK, less than 1 in 400 are recycled
  • Around 500,000 cups are littered every day in the UK - an unsightly and damaging blight on our environment
  • The UK produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year - enough to fill London’s Royal Albert Hall
  • Around 4% of disposable coffee cups are littered, equating to 500,000 each day

Coun Andrew Kay, Chair of a working party set up to tackle the problem of plastic waste, explained: “The council already has a fantastic kerbside scheme for people to recycle their plastic waste at home. 

“The problem is that while you’re out and about it’s very easy to buy a bottle of water or a takeaway coffee and none of the waste that’s thrown away in litter bins is currently recycled.

“About two thirds of the waste in litter bins is made up of plastic waste and disposable cups so that’s a massive amount that has to go to landfill. 

“We want to encourage people to reduce this massive amount of waste by making a few simple changes. 

“By reducing the amount of waste produced in the first place by carrying a refillable bottle for water or a travel mug for coffee will make a huge difference. If people can’t avoid buying a single use bottle then recycling is the next best option by taking it home and putting it out for collection.”

To aid the campaign the council is drawing up plans to install water fountains so people can top up their refillable water bottles. Initially these could be on the council’s own land in Williamson Park in Lancaster, Happy Mount Park in Morecambe. You can also take advantage of the Refill app to find your nearest retail outlet that will top up your water bottle for free.

Biodegradable coffee cups have also been introduced in Williamson Park and measures have been taken to eliminate the sale of non-recyclable single-use take-out cups, slush cups, plastic straws and cutlery. 

These products have been replaced with fully compostable ‘vegware’, vegetable oil, paper and bamboo products. 

Last updated: 23 April 2018

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