The council has taken a step towards being plastic-free.
The council has taken a step towards being plastic-free.

Council takes 'first step' to cut plastic bottles, straws

THE Toowoomba Regional Council has taken the "first step" towards a more environmentally-friendly operation after councillors approved significant changes to its procurement policy.

In what has been described as the start of a sweeping culture change within the organisation, the council voted to include a weighting on future tender applications that encouraged more recycled goods waste minimisation.

According to the new procurement policy, companies tendering their goods and services to the TRC would also be judged on a "weighted evaluation criteria in tender process where appropriate".

Council officers would also be encouraged to stop using single-use plastic bottles and straws, while the council will also stop using balloons in its events and activities.

The move was welcomed by water and waste chair Cr Nancy Sommerfield, who has been a major supporter of a "plastic ban" in the TRC.

Plastic ban debate in Toowoomba Regional Council: Plastic ban debate in council, from Nancy Sommerfield and Cr Bill Cahill.

"It's a first step in a number of steps moving forward," she said.

"I think there are more opportunities to advance in this space.

"There will be a weighting criteria in that tender process which... is getting (applicants) to think differently."

Cr Sommerfield said she wanted to see unnecessary use of single-use plastic bottles eliminated from the council.

"Our staff are putting forward suggestions, but one thing for me is that there are so many single-use water bottles," she said.

"Certainly there are times when there aren't other options, but I think there are too many bottles (used).

"All our staff who work in offices could be using bubbler stations.

"There's no reason they can't get rid of the single-use water bottles."

Cr Sommerfield pushed for the phasing out of single-use plastics during a council meeting last year.