The Weston Chamber of Commerce and an environmental charity hosted a free event to support businesses owners with the government’s new ban on some single-use plastics.
Curry and Conversation was led by Naseem Talukdar of Projects Against Plastic (PAP), a charity working to reduce the negative impact of single-use plastic.
It comes as takeaways, restaurants and cafes have to stop using single-use plastic cutlery, plates and bowls following legislation which came into force on Sunday, October 1.
The government move is set to push re-usable alternatives and tackle the growing plastic problem and protect the environment.
Protecting the environment.
Naseem, who helped successfully launch a Plastic Free Ramadan campaign to reduce single-use plastic while breaking fast, said: “It’s a good initiative, which should reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill, while protecting our environment and wildlife.
“But it’s challenging for business owners and we need more clarity around the ban, the processes and possible alternatives to single-use plastics.”
Plastics have a significant carbon footprint, emitting 3.4 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Under this legislation, the term ‘single use’ means an item that can only be used once for its original purpose.
Calls for clarity.
But there are exceptions, such as if the item is packaging, such as a pre-filled bowl.
Naseem, who is also the director for social responsibility and sustainability for UK Curry Connect (UKCC) campaign group, is contacting local government for clarity and support.
Sue Shillabeer, president of Weston chamber, believes it may be difficult to enforce the ban.
She said: “We are in favour of laws to ban single-use plastic in principle. But this legislation appears to be confused and perhaps not well-considered in terms of its wider implications.”
Cllr Mark Canniford, North Somerset Council’s executive member for spatial planning, placemaking and economy, said: “It was a great event and fascinating to hear the contrasting views and experiences of other attendees.
“Businesses are taking the issue around single use plastic very seriously, but they are not being helped with the unclear guidance which is now law.”
Moslek Uddin is a PAP trustee and director of Sponsor Licence Specialist (SLS), in T&L Businesspark. He has long used reusable metal containers, called tiffins, for food orders at his takeaway at Chutneys in Aller Parade.
Moslek, who founded UK Curry Connect to tackle skills shortages in the Asian food industry, said: “It’s important for our seas, wildlife and future generations to reduce single-use plastic as much as possible.
“We started to do this years ago, but it isn’t always easy to find affordable and effective alternatives.”
The event was held at We are Super in the High Street, with talks over a free vegan curry, provided by Chutneys Takeaway. It is set to be the first in a series of events.
It brought together local business owners, chamber members and local government workers to share their successes, challenges and concerns around reducing single-use plastic.
Robert Drewett, High Sheriff of Somerset, added: “This was my first visit to a Curry and Conversation event.
“It was an excellent way of learning more about the ban on single use plastic and the impact of this on businesses as well as the implications for the wider community.”