Sue Hordle, DE&S Infra Environmental and Conservation Coord shares her insights about what her and her team at DE&S Abbey Wood are doing to reduce their impact on the environment.
Talking about the steps her team have taken to reduce single use plastic at Abbey Wood, Sue explained:
“At DE&S HQ Abbey Wood we looked into reducing and/or replacing our single use plastics used in our food outlets including plastic cutlery, single use plastic drinking cups, dessert and salad pots, single use sauce sachets and takeaway food boxes made from either plastic and or polystyrene.”
“We tasked our Contractor Amey, to look at replacements for the consumer single use plastic (CSUP) used in food purchases by staff. Amey came back with several options and we decided to choose the Vegware option,” she continued.
Vegware is made from plants using renewable, lower carbon, recycled or reclaimed materials and can also be composted once used. At present, DE&S do not send any food waste away for composting although this is something that is being looked into. However, food waste is sent off for incineration for energy use from the Abbey Wood south site and the incineration of Vegware products instead of the plastic products is less damaging to the environment and does not give off toxic fumes.
Vegware is sold in 70 countries Worldwide and is distributed throughout Europe, the Middle East, South America and the Caribbean – as well as operational bases in the UK, USA, Hong Kong and Australia.
Sue, explained: “ Vegware has also worked with some of the Worlds largest contract caterers and distributors, helping food service establishments meet their sustainability goals and this also matched the quality we wanted.”
“By introducing Vegware products in the various food outlets around the DES HQ Abbey Wood Site, it has greatly reduced our use of CSUP.”
DE&S have now reduced our CSUP use by approximately 2,000,000 items:
500,000 – Knives, Forks & Spoons
300,000 – Water Cups
300,000 – Salad & Dessert Pots
500,000 – Food Boxes
250,000 – Sauce Sachets – replaced by refillable, pump action bottles which are much more sustainable.
Sue continued: “We have also looked at our single use water bottles that are sold in the sites food outlets and are replacing these with aluminium cans and tetra packs, we are hoping at some point to do the same with our milk bottles that are sold on site too.”
“Paper straws and wooden hot drinks stirrers have replaced plastic straws and stirrers and are supplied at the Costa outlets on site. Additionally, Costa are looking at using other cups rather than the plastics currently used for their cold drinks. It is expected that once a decision has been reached then the outlets at ABW will follow suit.”
“We have also now ceased the use of plastic carrier bags that were given out to staff for food purchases. These have now been replaced with paper bags however, there is a debate as to whether paper bags are more sustainable due to the water and energy used in production of them. The real winner of course would be for staff to use reusable bags for food purchases on site.”