Five ways to navigate the plastic reduction roadmap

By Juliane Caillouette-Noble, SRA Development Director

A new report is out from City2Sea, a Bristol based environmental organization campaigning to stop plastic pollution, looking at the state of single use plastic in the food to go sector. The report is based on an analysis of the top 20* (by sales turnover data) UK high street food-to-go operators. It peels back the shiny wrapping to see how their single-use waste is generated and managed. It highlights some key themes where there is room for improvement, along with case studies for where the sector is doing well. We were excited to see SRA members like Costa Coffee and LEON celebrated for some of their good practice, and we welcome the Roadmap with tangible actions that the sector can deliver over the next five years.

Five insights from the report:

  • More than ¾ of the outlets examined had no policies in place at all for reducing single use plastic front of house, such as promoting reusable cup use or replacing sauce sachets with dispensers
  • 1/3 of the outlets selling coffee had a cup recycling system in place, but almost half of the coffee shops sold coffee in singe use cups even if the customer was dining in.
  • ZERO of the outlets audited had separate food waste collection bins or separate bins for compostable packaging- a good reminder that compostable packaging will not save us!

Five relevant government legislation and sector initiatives coming up in 2021:

  • The Environment Act receives Royal Assent with provisions for Deposit Return Scheme, Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes, charges and single-use items and duties on the Secretary of State to set at least one target for waste and resources
  • Extension of the single-use plastic bag levy to all retailers
  • Consultation on the introduction of Deposit Return Scheme in England, Wales & Northern Ireland
  • Plastics Pact members’ voluntary commitments to product bans partly mirroring those of the EU SUPs Directive
  • EU member states begin establishing bans and reductions in line with the SUPs Directive. The deadline for transposition of the Directive into Member State law is July 2021. The UK is not bound to transpose the SUPs Directive but governments across the UK have pledged to match or exceed its ambitions

Five actions your business should take in the next year:

  • Commit to no promotion or deals on bottled water, and report on water sales
  • Accept and promote reusable cups, and provide dedicated recycling bins for coffee cups
  • Instate a reusable milk system if providing coffee
  • Remove 100% of plastic and bioplastic cutlery for eat in customers
  • No disposable sachets used for eat-in customers

For more detail check out the full report Food to Go, Good to Go? A Roadmap for Change  and feel free to download our guide Unwrapping Plastics.

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