Kiro Tamer, Group Energy Advisor at Keltbray, outlines how we’re cutting down on our use of plastic….
In December 2017, when David Attenborough’s Blue Planet showed the extent that our plastic waste has affected the wider world and environment, society took notice and a movement to do something about our (mis)use of plastic began.
Several things have since happened…. Supermarkets have started charging for singles use plastic bags. Paper straws have replaced plastic ones in nearly all bars and restaurants. And the UK Plastic Pact was introduced.
But what is it?
The Plastics Pact is a unique platform that brings together businesses, governments, innovators, NGOs, and citizens on a national level to rally behind ambitious targets and build a plastics system that works. Launched in April 2018, The UK Plastics Pact is a first of its kind, and is a collaboration by businesses from across the entire plastics value chain, UK Government and NGOs, and it is led by UK charity WRAP.
While all the initiatives are led by a local organisation, they all share the New Plastics Economy vision and all commit to achieving ambitious targets by 2025 in the following areas:
- Eliminate unnecessary and problematic single-use plastic packaging through redesign and innovation
- Ensure all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable
- Increase the collection and recycling of plastic packaging
- Increase recycled content in plastic packaging
We at Keltbray approached WRAP to ask to join this pact but were told that this initial move was aimed at big plastic producers/users, such as supermarkets. Undeterred, we looked at our supply chain to understand where we did actually use plastic, and found that its most common use within our business was for packaging, varying from chemical containers to pallet wrapping. In other words, all key components that we need for our operations and in not in our ability to change.
Committed to making a difference, however small, we decided to improve our reliance on single use plastic. Taking a look away from our production needs and looking at our employees’ everyday needs, we found that a large number of people went to a local shop to buy breakfast and lunch and came back to the office with a plastic bag, which they most likely then disposed of. As a consequence, we came up with the idea to install dispensers of plastic bags at each of our sites and offices readily available for our employees to use and return every time they went to a shop. The result would be that no new plastic bags would be bought and introduced into the economy.
We shared this on the company portal and management from head office really bought into the idea and our Borrow a Bag scheme was born!
It’s already proving to be a great success and many more initiatives are sure to follow so watch this space for more on how we’ll fight the war on plastic.