First-ever ‘low plastic zone’ launched in London today

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THE FIRST ever ‘Low Plastic Zone’, has been brought to reality today by North London Waste Authority in partnership with the seven north London boroughs in a quest to rid the local businesses from single-use plastics.

Over three quarters of businesses in the Cowcross Street area of Islington have successfully and permanently reduced the single-use plastic they give to their customers, with many pledging to go further than the Charter of Commitment.

Over the coming weeks, key shopping areas within Haringey, Camden, Barnet, Enfield, Hackney and Waltham Forest are also expected to reach Low Plastic Zone status.

Chair of North London Waste Authority, Cllr Clyde Loakes, said: “Our research shows that the majority of people are trying hard to reduce their use of single-use plastic but are frustrated at how difficult it is to avoid when shopping or eating and drinking on-the-go.

“Reducing the amount of waste we all create, and single-use plastics in particular, is essential for helping tackle the climate emergency.

“North London Waste Authority is committed to helping residents and businesses do this.

“We know that businesses want to reduce their environmental impact, not only because it’s the right thing to do but because it’s good for business.

“People are telling us that they are more likely to use companies who are taking action in this area so we are confident that this flagship initiative will be a win-win-win; for businesses, for consumers and of course, for the planet.”

The Low Plastic Zone initiative aims to encourage and support local businesses of all sizes to reduce the amount of single-use plastic handed to customers who, according to a nationwide survey commissioned by the North London Waste Authority, simply don’t want it anymore.

95% of respondents want local businesses to reduce their use of single-use plastic and 83% have taken steps to reduce their own use.

Shoppers are voting with their feet and choosing businesses that are taking action.

17% have stopped buying a product because it wasn’t available without plastic packaging, 15% have switched from one local business to another and 11% have travelled out of their way to use a lower-plastic firm.

In fact, if two businesses were identical in every other way, 93% of respondents said they would shop at the one that had reduced single-use plastic.

Speaking at today’s Low Plastic Zone launch at the Lazybones restaurant in Cowcross Street, Cllr Rowena Champion, Executive Member for Environment and Transport from Islington council, said: “The Low Plastic Zone on Cowcross Street is an innovative, practical step towards cutting down on single-use plastics and shows one of the many ways we are working with local people and businesses to tackle the climate emergency.

“We have been encouraged and inspired by the response from the public and businesses alike so far; it is clear many people who live and work in the borough are willing to do their bit in helping reduce single-use plastics.

“We look forward to more businesses in the area and beyond signing up.”

More information on low plastic zones can be found here