Mayor Andy Street has today announced that the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) will be completely cutting out single-use plastics as part of the fight to tackle climate change.
The WMCA, which includes Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), has set a target of cutting out all single-use plastics by the end of 2020.
Single-use plastics are defined as plastics that are used once before being discarded, and include plastic packaging, bags, and water bottles. These are a huge issue for the environment as the majority of the plastic is not biodegradable like food or paper.
Young people from Birmingham Youth Climate Strike gave a passionate speech on the environment to the WMCA Board in June
The ambitious pledge to ditch single-use plastic forms part of the WMCA’s wider commitment to become carbon neutral no later than 2041, as the organisation looks to help in the global fight against climate change.
Andy Street, the mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “The West Midlands has a moral responsibility to tackle climate change and we have made a firm commitment to become carbon neutral by 2041, if not sooner.
“As part of that commitment we are drawing up our action plan to meet our targets, which will be presented to the WMCA board in November. That report will detail how we can help everyone across the region to play their part in the battle against Climate Change, and I am determined that the WMCA leads the way alongside local authorities in the West Midlands.
“We already have a zero-waste contract in place and have been given one of the highest certifications for our environmental management. Now, I am committing the WMCA to stopping the use of single-use plastics, with the harmful products cut out of our organisation entirely by the end of next year.”
The announcement comes as week-long strike action takes place across the globe to raise awareness of climate change.
Councillor Ian Courts, the WMCA portfolio holder for environment, said: “We recognise the importance of climate change as an issue and we will do everything we can to tackle it and make our region carbon neutral.
“The WMCA has been working with some of the young climate change protestors across the West Midlands and I hope they will see today’s announcement as another positive step in the right direction.
“Addressing the climate challenge will take investment and large-scale system change – but we can all make a difference with changes in our behaviour and choices. I am pleased that the WMCA has signalled this commitment to playing its part, and to working with colleagues across the region to help others to build the movement for change that we need.”