Earth Day 2024

On Monday 22 April 2024, we show our support for Earth Day, which started in 1970. Earth Day is when people everywhere show they care about protecting our planet.

This year's theme is ‘Planet vs. Plastics', focusing on stopping plastic pollution by making less plastic and not throwing it away as much.

We will be holding a series of drop-in sessions to get your recycling questions answered at Blackheath Library (9.30am), Smethwick Library (11am), Wednesbury Library (1pm) and Glebefields Library (2.30pm). Pop in and say hi!

Earth Day 2024

Why is plastic an issue for the environment?

Plastic is handy because it lasts a long time, it's cheap to make, and we use it for lots of things. However, we make so much plastic every year that it's causing a large amount of pollution. This is harming animals and the places where they live, as well as rivers and oceans. Back in 1950, the world made two million tonnes of plastic, now it’s a huge 450 million tonnes every year! Plus, plastic sticks around for a really long time before it breaks down, sometimes hundreds of years, so the problem increases over time. In March 2024, global talks started about stopping plastic pollution all around the world to try and fix these problems.

What has Sandwell Council done?

In January 2024, we agreed to follow the Single Use Plastic Policy. This is because the government has already banned some single use plastics in October 2023. The policy shows that we promise to use less single use plastic in our everyday work. But we're not stopping there, we're making plans to gradually stop using single use plastics in our council activities whenever we can.

What can you do?

Remember: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

To stop plastic waste, it's best to use less first, instead of using lots and then recycling it all later, because plastic is harder to recycle compared to paper or glass. If we don't buy so much plastic, we won't have as much going to waste and recycling centres.

You can help by using a water bottle that you can use again and again, or by choosing items at the store that don't have plastic packaging.

If you do get something made of plastic, try to use it many times. Some people are really good at this, like using plastic bags or boxes over and over, or keeping clothes for a long time (some clothes are made of plastic!).

Lastly, when you're done with your plastic stuff, try to recycle it if you can. Check Sandwell Council's recycling page to see what you can put in your blue bin. Some plastics are tricky to recycle, like candy wrappers or clingfilm, but some supermarkets have special bins for these. You can bring them when you go shopping.

Our 5 quick wins:

  1. Reusable drinks bottles – there are now apps which can show you locations where you can fill them up on the go.
  2. Reusable coffee cups – some coffee stores offer rewards for using your cup.
  3. Soap bars – switch back from soap dispensers.
  4. Cloth shopping bags – keep them by the door or in your car so you don’t forget them, wash them when they get dirty.
  5. Metal straws – many shops sell these and they can be kept clean with a mini brush!

Although a lot of household plastics can be recycled in your blue lid bin at home, reducing our use should come before recycling.

Read more on the Earth Day website.

Visit our climate change webpage and find out more about our climate change strategy and action plan or email the team at