With Christmas on the way, indulging by eating out more and stocking up with all the festive favourites at home becomes the norm throughout December in the lead up to the big day.
We’ll no doubt be making our way through tubs of Celebrations, slurping festive hot drink concoctions and testing out this year’s Christmas menus.
But let’s think about this for a second. UK shoppers are set to spend £21.6bn on groceries this Christmas, and no doubt indulging at restaurants and bars too. That’s a lot of plastic.
The good news is that both consumers and the hospitality industry have woken up to the reality of careless consumerism, becoming more cautious and smarter about what they are using. In its recent report, Waitrose has revealed that 88% of people have changed how they use plastics since watching the eye-opening final episode of Blue Planet II. While our efforts to reduce consumption of materials have picked up, we could be doing more to achieve a sustainable planet for 2019 and beyond.
Shops, retailers and cafe chains are rolling out a host of eco-friendly packaging, using weird and wonderful alternatives to plastic. So if you agree that small changes create a big impact, why not get behind these eco initiatives popping up across the UK?
Here are just a few brands and innovations joining the fight for a greener planet.
Walkers launches crisp packet recycling scheme
Partnering with recycling company TerraCycle, Walkers has launched the UK’s first crisp packet recycling scheme to address the public’s environmental concerns of plastic waste. The UK’s largest crisp brand is rolling this scheme out via established recycling points across the UK. There’s even a dedicated courier service free of charge for those who can’t get to recycling centres. There’s no excuse now!
Find out more at https://www.walkers.co.uk/recycle
GOING PLASTIC FREE AT Bulk Market
Stocking more than 300 items in the pop-up shop in Hackney, Bulk Market is London’s first plastic free shop. Huge glass kilner style jars and dispensers allow customers to measure out products such as whole grains, nuts, herbs and spices, pasta, fruit and veg and bakery. Therefore, the need for plastic is eliminated.
Pret’s plastic pledge
To reduce the amount of cups used, Pret gives a 50p discount for customers who bring their own reusable cup.
The café chain also partnered with start-up Chilly’s to create branded reusable bottles suitable for both hot and cold drinks. Once purchased, they can be filled up with free water at many Pret locations across the UK.
Earlier this year, it also promised to launch a new line of cutlery in 2019 that can be composted once used, in a move to limit plastic waste.
View Pret’s global plastic pledge here: https://www.pret.co.uk/en-gb/sustainability
costa’s contactless cups
Pret isn’t the only one championing the reusable cup. With contactless payments immensely popular, Costa has tapped into the trend with its ‘Clever Cup’ which allows you to make payments at both the coffee chain and other retailers. What’s more, a 25p drinks discount is given to anyone with the cup, saving single use cups and encouraging customers to be more sustainable.
Carlsberg ditch the plastic ring
Danish beer brand Carlsberg is phasing in a new ‘snap pack’, which it says will reduce the amount of plastic used in plastic ring multi-packs by 76%. Despite being used widely in manufacturing across the industry for 50 years, Carlsberg is moving towards recyclable glue to package up multiple cans. If you’ve seen the impact of traditional plastic rings on marine life, you’ll know this will make a huge difference to reducing ocean pollution and marine life welfare.
Vegware plant based packaging
Vegware is developing entire ranges of compostable packaging made from plants, offering anything from cups, to salad boxes, sushi trays, bin liners and cutlery. Its products have proved particularly useful for contract caterers and foodservice companies for a range of different foods, and to considerably reduce plastic waste.
Elior uses Vegware across its business, in stadiums, universities, hospitals, care facilities and more.
“We use Vegware packaging because it has been produced using lower carbon plant based material and it also has the ability to be composted commercially. Our customers are really behind us using sustainable packaging due to increased awareness of environmental issues, and they also like the design of our sustainable packaging, which is a bonus! As a result of using Vegware we’ve been able to save 39 tonnes of virgin materials and 135 tonnes of carbon – that’s equal to 156 flights from London to New York. As a large business working across many sectors it’s really important for us to be using sustainable products in all of our sites.”
Charlotte Wright, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Elior UK
Further information can be found at https://www.vegware.com/
Seaweed sachets from Just Eat
In March this year, JustEat announced new measures to reduce the impact of takeaways on UK plastic waste levels. Partnering with sustainable packaging start-up Skipping Rocks Lab, it introduced a trial of compostable sauce sachets made from seaweed. The company works with 29,000 partners in the UK, and is currently assessing the feasibility of offering the sustainable sachets more broadly across the JustEat network.
It’s safe to say that companies within the foodservice and hospitality industry in particular are recognising their role in combatting plastic waste, reducing their footprint and satisfying environmentally minded customers. We’ll be staying tuned to more weird and wonderful creations to come.