Could a ketchup ban catch on? Greens would relish scrapping wasteful sauce sachets

Single-use ketchup sachets should be banned, according to a Brighton Green councillor.

Councillor Jamie Lloyd

Jamie Lloyd made an impassioned plea to scrap the wasteful slivers of sauce as he and his colleagues discussed ways to raise recycling rates.

Councillor Lloyd said: “Forgive me if this sounds a little ‘left field’. We are a city that does a lot of food.

“If anyone’s done a litter pick – and I know that all councillors do a lot – we’re aware that a huge amount of the waste comes from food

“Can we be a pioneer city and forever ban the single-use tomato ketchup sachet. It’s the bane of all of our lives.

“There’s enough ketchup in each sachet for less than one chip. It’s an affront – and they’re everywhere.

“Could we just do something really positive and just say we’re banning them as a city. Wouldn’t that be great!”

A senior council official Rachel Chasseaud said: “It’s something we could certainly look at. We could look at what’s legally possible to do.”

She added that a proposed pilot accreditation scheme might offer a way of encouraging smaller traders on the seafront to rethink their relish – along with their other waste.

Other ideas for cutting waste and encouraging more re-use and recycling were also being considered including star ratings for sustainable traders.

Councillor Lloyd’s plea to ban disposable sauce sachets came during a debate about a report on recycling more plastics, with Brighton and Hove City Council looking to improve its performance.

He added: “What the report shows is how much plastic is unrecyclable completely – and that’s the problem we find ourselves in and I’m sure every other local authority finds themselves in.

“We can’t ask consumers to leave plastic on the shelf when it’s available to them and they’re busy and they’re doing their weekly shop.

“We have to, as a council, lobby our government to make it unfeasible or at least impossible perhaps for companies to continue to make and deliver their products in packaging that’s effectively unrecyclable.”

Labour councillor Carmen Appich said: “Yes, of course it’s for government to bring out legislation and to perhaps ban suppliers from using certain packaging.

“Maybe in this city we could do better than that and we could maybe use our role as leaders in the city to encourage local shops to stop stocking plastics.

“So rather than expecting consumers to leave it on the shelf, maybe we should use our purchasing and procurement powers as a council to not buy things that are in plastic containers and to do some lobbying of local stores.

“I’m perfectly happy to go and knock on stores’ doors and say to them have you thought about using cardboard and getting your suppliers to switch to cardboard?

Councillor Carmen Appich

“Linda McCartney’s products have been packaged in cardboard for years and it seems to work.

“Could we do something locally? Can we consider that?”

Labour councillor Theresa Fowler said that she had been asking for more plastic recycling since before she was elected.

She said: “I was told there wasn’t a market because the plastic was of low quality. I understand now that hasn’t changed.

“If we do start collecting them without the government changing this at source, it is going to contaminate our own recycling?

“And then we find that is not being taken and ending up on a beach somewhere in countries such as Malaysia. That would be my concern.”

Councillor Theresa Fowler

Green councillor Elaine Hills said that voters had told her that recycling plastics was a priority for them during her election campaign

Councillor Hills said: “Getting it right is really difficult. I know we’ve all seen programmes – there was a Channel 4 one – Dispatches – saying how people separate their rubbish in good faith in the belief that it will be recycled.

“They do it fastidiously and then up it goes in smoke so that really destroyed public confidence.

“The plastics often end up in Malaysia where there isn’t a market for it anyway.

Councillor Elaine Hills

“The government needs to step in. Food retailers need to acknowledge the difficulties in recycling the plastics that they produce.

“But they won’t do it, I don’t think, without interference from the government. They should be using more sustainable materials.

“We need a thorough feasibility study that weighs all this up – all these different considerations – and it’s very welcome so we can see how worthwhile all this might be.”

A proposed feasibility study won cross-party backing from councillors at a virtual meeting of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee yesterday (Tuesday 16 March).

The study will look at the costs and benefits of refitting the Materials Recycling Facility, in Hollingdean, so that it can recycle plastic pots, tubs and trays in addition to plastic bottles. See our recent report on this proposal and a previous report when the matter was raised.

  1. Rostrum Reply

    More swivel eyed looney ‘policy’ from people who apparently are running this city.

    What we want it a coherent drive out of the current crippling situation not ‘grand standing’ about petty issues that waste peoples time, cost tax payer money and will have NO EFFECT on the cities future.

  2. Greens Out Reply

    This has all the makings of one of those irritating Haribo adverts with adult actors and children’s voices.

  3. Mark Strong Reply

    Litter on the beach (including plastic sachets) and in the rest of the city has a very clear effect on the city’s future as it deters people from visiting. It’s not a petty issue at all (there’s just a lot of other big issues as well).

    • Peter Challis Reply

      Thanks – but what has this got to do with the climate crisis and reducing carbon emmissions?

      How many tonnes of CO2E will this action reduce?

      What proportion of plastic on the beaches comes from Ketchup sachets?

      Perhaps if our eco-activist masters in the politburo could concentrate on the big issues the city faces as we (hopefully) come out of lockdown and want to rebuild the local economy.

  4. Hendra Reply

    Surely a bit of ketchup would be just the thing Cllr Lloyd needs on those hallucinogenic mushrooms he clearly ingests on a daily basis

  5. Joe Stains Reply

    With a Green council, every day in Brighton is like 1st April…

  6. Billy Short Reply

    I despair at these stories because they make it clear how our councillors have lost touch with what is real or practical.
    I’m sure they mean well when talking about ketchup sachets but all that comes across is that we ‘shouldn’t’ be having sauce on our fish and chips.
    The implication is that if we have ketchup on our chips then those sachets inevitably end up in the sea – when that’s actually not the case.

    As a person living in the real world I walk along Brighton and Hove seafront and I see the endless triple recycling litter bins, which again should be a good thing but which in practice aren’t emptied often enough. Each section gets contaminated with trash from another section simply because that other section was full. The recycling bins also have messy and confusing signage from the original design and extra signage has already been added, making it very difficult to read or navigate.
    On top of this, the council have recently added new wheelie bins to sit alongside each set of litter bins, adding further eyesores to our heritage seafront.

    So we can see that all the rubbish we have tried to separate for responsible recycling is actually going to the incinerator in Newhaven, with our efforts wasted.
    The council then blame the public for the seafront mess when it is their own failure to empty the bins that is the underlying problem.
    And they now talk about ketchup sachets.

    I dispose of any rubbish responsibly, and I try to recycle everything. I too hate single use plastics but there’s nothing this council is doing to help me in any practical way. As residents we get shamed if we want to recycle at the nearest tip and you can’t easily get in there anyway.
    The council do not collect recycling from our house of 5 flats and so I walk my own recyclables to the King Alfred wheelie site, where I invariably find the bottle banks full up with paper coffee cups – mostly because the bins have worn or weathered signage that should have been replaced a year ago.

    If only this council would get a grip of basic services.

  7. Martjt Reply

    Of all the problems facing Brighton and Hove at the moment they choose condiment sachets to wage war on. Will no one rid us of this crazy council?

  8. Mark Strong Reply

    My main complaint about the sachets is they’re far too small – I like as much ketchup as chips!

    But seriously, did anyone commenting other than me here *actually* listen to the debate instead of making kneejerk comments based on a report? It was one small comment in a much longer debate, about the impact of all plastics and litter in general on recycling. Cllr Lloyd’s comment was just a throw-away remark on litter on the beach which got lots of support from ALL parties. He certainly did NOT say we shouldn’t have ketchup (or anything else) on our chips.

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