Council backs campaign to reduce single use plastic in Thanet

Members of Plastic Free Thanet

Shops and restaurants in Thanet will be among the first groups supported to remove single-use plastic from their operations following Thanet District Council’s vote to work with group Plastic Free Thanet to make the isle a plastic free community.

At a full council meeting last week members voted unanimously in favour of supporting volunteer-run Plastic Free Thanet’s work reducing the flow of single-use plastic on to streets and beaches.

Plastic Free Thanet, part of the nationwide Surfers Against Sewage movement, formed in July with the aim of getting local government, businesses, schools and community groups to do away with unnecessary single-use plastic.

It brings together Surfers Against Sewage leads from Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Minster who are working with isle groups including Rise Up Clean Up and Ramsgate Litter Forum to tackle the plastic problem.

Image Surfers Against Sewage

The group says only 12% of the 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging that are thrown away by UK households every year actually gets recycled. The rest ends up in waterways, harms wildlife and damages people’s health. They say plastic is also a large and growing contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet, leading to extreme weather and rising ocean levels.

Thanet council’s support for the campaign coincides with funding from marine conservation charity Sea-Changers for Plastic Free Thanet to work with 60 businesses over the next six months to help remove at least three items of single-use plastic per business.

The council has committed to:

  • Putting a member on the local Plastic Free Thanet steering group.
  • Supporting Plastic Free Communities initiatives in its area.
  • Reviewing the progress already made in the removal of single-use plastic items from its premises and operation, and use the information gathered to create a realistic timeline for completion of the process.

Ramsgate Central Harbour Green Party Councillor Becky Wing, who leads on Plastic Free Thanet for Ramsgate, said: “It’s a massive step in the right direction for Thanet District Council to follow in the footsteps of Broadstairs and Ramsgate Town Councils in tackling the issue of plastics, which find their way into our communities, waterways, along our coast and into the sea.

“Smaller businesses are trying but a trip to any large supermarket will clearly evidence very little being done to deal with this serious environmental issue.”

Cllr Rob Yates

Margate Central Labour Councillor Rob Yates, who introduced the motion to the council, said: “Labour councillors are delighted to see the council unanimously pass the Plastic Free Thanet motion.

“It is vital that councils across the country set the trend in managing single-use plastic and have continued dialogue with the community and businesses to reduce this pollution. We look forward to continued dialogue with Plastic Free Thanet and will do everything we can to support this important campaign.”

Find out more about Plastic Free Thanet and sign up to the newsletter to keep up to date with the campaign and take action.


  1. Fully support the reduction in plastics! So who is going to deal with giants such as the poundshop and assist the struggling small businesses that sell the cheap beach paraphernaila that gets left on the beaches day after day? And can someone please give consideration to dealing with the glass bottles of booze? Wouldn’t plastic bottles be a better solution in that instance? Unless banning huge bottles of booze on the beach is going to be a thing? Perhaps it is already a thing? For a place such as Margate which is so close to the train station, making it harder to buy super cheap stuff that can be dumped (rather than valued items brought on the train and taken back home) would be a HUGE step. 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 why are people leaving towels and toys, umbrellas and windbreaks behind?! Because the hassle of bringing them is greater than the cost of purchasing them.. fix this and we are onto a winner.

  2. For many years the marine conservation society constantly educate members of the public we tried to get business involved not to use plastic glasses plastic takeaway cutlery and other products at the time none were interested to include glass bottles that people leave on our beaches no one in Thanet was interested we had support from the mayor at the time and ex councillor iris Johnson we try not to bring politics into this only central government can make decisions I know it’s local elections next year a bit of a timed effort. Marine conservation society local campaigner.

    • It is my understanding that those premises selling alcohol on Margate beach are not permitted by their licence to use glasses or bottles and everything must be served in single use plastic. The reasoning for this is that glass will be broken and cut the feet of those walking barefoot on the sand.

      However, all other beach users are permitted to take bottled beer, bottles of wine and bottles of spirits onto the beach – many of whom leave the discarded empties behind.

      There clearly needs to be some joined-up thinking and a common policy – and a policy that is then enforced !

  3. Plastic free! Perhaps you could get your department resposible for plastic littered alll over Thanet to start by cleaning up the whole area.For example from Broadstairs Train Sation the length of Albion Rd has 3 pieces of litter for every step one takes.Its apalling and I complained a year ago and nothing has been done.Do what your paid Council Tax for.There is more plastic litter in Thanet than the Metropolis that London is.

  4. How are Strawberries & other such fruits going to be sold if not in punnets & wrap on top to hold them in place?

    How are packs of water going to be sold, or will it all be single bottles? Is the plastic in bottles itself unacceptable? If so then are the water companies going to start putting it new technology? Glass bottles are cost prohibitive.

    What exactly is the point of this, seeing as the UK only contributes 1% of the pollution in the world & so even if the entirety of the UK adopted this strategy it makes no impact while the US, China, Russia & India alone cause around half of it?

    Why are these groups, like the ones who act like children by sitting on motorways causing more CO2, throwing milk on supermarket floors, throwing gunk over buildings & paintings etc ambitions so low & futile?

    I would argue that little has been done to tackle it-bananas in many supermarkets now no longer have plastics bags or huge amount os wrap around them, but a small piece around the middle, soft plastic recycling facilities is also at most of them now. Perhaps they could concern themselves with the recycling that is shipped overseas & being burned on dumped in landfill there?

    • Where is your phone made Steve? And your computer? What about the clothes you wear? I suspect, like most, you will find that China and India are common sources. So you, like pretty much everyone in Britain, are a significant cause of CO2 emissions in China and India etc. We haven’t reduced our CO2 emissions, we’ve just exported them to other countries. If you include these then we produce far more than 1% of emissions.

      • Correct in some regards, but unlike the UK these countries have no interest in moving away from fossil fuels or reducing waste-that is the real issue.

        Of course we have little choice on such matters-I am not aware of any TV or electronics manufacturer in the UK & all non Asian manufacturers shift their production to Asia to improve their bottom lines, in large part because they know these countries do not have to conform to laws.

        We are not allowed to walk around naked & it would be foolhardy to do so in winter if we were, so again there isn’t any choice.

  5. The UK contributes approximately 100% of the plastic waste in the UK.
    Never mind what other countries do: let’s clean our own act up.
    I despair when I see the plastic, glass and aluminium rubbish spoiling our towns and our countryside. And no, it’s not TDC’s fault. It’s the fault of lazy and indifferent people who can’t be bothered to recycle stuff properly.

    • Agree it’s mostly the people of thanet who litter.

      TDC put bins out than you see householders and shops filling them up with their rubbish !

      Japan is a very clean country but its they culture and pride. Even the Japanese fans at the world cup cleaned their part of the stadium and the team cleaned the changing rooms.

      To many people here dont have pride or respect for themselves let alone other people.

      Thanet is the dirtiest place I see.

      • Mr X spot on with your analysis of Thanet . It is the dirtiest area I have ever lived in. My road in Ramsgate was regularly littered with cans, bottles, paper packaging and on occasions nappies. We got so fed up with the area we moved well away earlier this year. You would have needed a street cleaner once a day to keep it clean. I should add before any smart individual says you should have cleaned it yourself I did on a daily basis.

      • Japan are also the fifth largest polluter in the world, so while they may take pride in not littering, they have no issue pumping insane amounts of crap into the air. But again it comes down to what your priorities are-a clean part of a world cup stadium that would be cleaned up after they left anyway, or a planet hurtling towards destruction.

    • The point is our pollution levels, which we have been reducing year on year area pack of not making any real difference to climate change, if you never mind what other huge polluting countries do then the planet is screwed.

      This is the equivalent of throwing a pack of cigarettes in the bin & virtue signalling how you are cutting throat cancer rates.

      To be honest I am more concerned with Southern Sewage dumping excrement into our seas all year long than a discarded plastic bottle or empty crisp wrapper on the streets or beach-most of which get cleaned up anyway.

      How much of our recycling actually gets recycled anyway? A lot of it ends up being shipped out to other countries where it goes to landfill or gets burned, this also happens in the UK. Or are you going to adopt your irrational stance that doesn’t matter on this as well? The UK is not destroying the planet-unless something changes in the countries I mentioned then this is as pointless as urinating in the wind.

  6. Sorry Phyllis I disagree.It is TDC fault for the litter.If it looked clean and tidy it would set a good example.Its because it looks so neglected that idiots think its acceptable.I spent two weeks driving in France and barely saw any litter.There was more litter in the first hundred yards of entering Thanet upon my return.

    • I see David you homed in on Phyllis Quot’s comment about litter not mine. Although I no longer live in Thanet but I still have a lot of time for the hard pressed waste & cleansing teams both front and back office I dealt over my years there. Your comment about ‘if it looked clean and tidy it would set a good example’ ignores the issue that is as the two legged vermin that cause the litter in the first place who will litter even if the road is clean. As I said in my earlier post you could have a street sweeper everyday and the problem would still be as bad. If you’re so concerned about litter go and buy a litter picker and help your community.

  7. Laurence I do litter pick,shovel up dog poo, dig out detritus that resembles compost our roads and even pull up metre high weeds NEGLECTED by Thanet Council.We now have Graffiti everywhere.Whilst I agree that people cause these problems the Council has a duty and a role.Most towns carry out these functions.Thanet is quite simply let down by its council.My area has not been swept in the 11 years I have lived unless by me ….oh by the way Ive paid the council to do this.

  8. Yes I agree about TDC.While i was out walking today I noticed countless drains fully blocked from lack of sweeping.So much for catching water our most important asset.Very green TDC.

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