THE three principals of environmental activism ‘reuse, reduce, recycle’ were questioned by city householders furious about a new eco scheme introduced by Oxford City Council.
In February city councillors were spotted posing for photographs at Bonn Square next to newly-installed brightly-coloured bins, part of an initiative to boost paper cup recycling in the county.
While the programme is set to recycle 6.35 tonnes of coffee cups, roughly equivalent to 350,000 paper cups, in the first year, some locals have questioned the council’s message – saying single-use cups should be banned.
Former city councillor Tony Brett said he was anxious the scheme would teach youngsters bad habits and condone climate damaging behaviour.
Mr Brett, who works at Oxford University, argued that the city council should have introduced more drastic measures by banning cups instead of recycling them.
He said: “Councillors are doing good work, however, they are not tackling the root cause of the problem.
“Instead of dedicated recycling bins, they should ban single-use cups all together or introduce a large tax on businesses who still use it.”
Mr Brett, who had only recently learnt that the scheme was funded by corporate giant Starbucks with money from the 5p charge on disposable coffee cups, called for larger tougher crackdowns on companies who are harming the environment.
Backlash on social media demonstrated Mr Brett was not the only resident who disapproved of the campaign.
One Headington resident Stephanie Jenkins, said: “Not only are they hideous, but they seem designed to encourage children to think that using cups just once is perfectly acceptable as long as you put them in the fun bin afterwards”.
City councillor Tom Hayes, who was at the forefront of the campaign, agreed that people needed to be encouraged to make the transition away from single-use cups, however, he added: “we cannot be purist about this”.
He explained: “We want to encourage more people to carry a reusable cup, but while they are still using single-use cups, it is right that we recycle them to minimise the climate impact.”