The use of the most environmentally damaging plastics (including single use and hard black plastics that cannot be recycled) could soon be a thing of the past in schools, hospitals, pubs and restaurants following an announcement by Brakes, the UK’s leading delivered wholesaler, to drastically reduce the use of these plastics in its supply chain.
With the launch of its ‘2 Zero 20’ campaign, Brakes becomes the first major foodservice wholesaler to announce a formal plan to address the use of non-recyclable hard black plastics. ‘2 Zero 20’ signals Brakes’ intention to eliminate the use of such plastics from all its own brand products by the end of 2020. The reduction programme starts on 5 June, World Environment Day, when hard black plastics will no longer be allowed in any new Brakes products.
Brakes’ chief executive, Hugo Mahoney, said: “We recognise that the foodservice industry needs to be more proactive in being responsible users of plastic. We also know that consumers are asking our customers what they are doing about plastic and we are therefore giving them the solution that they need – by committing to remove non-recyclable hard black plastic from our own brand products by the end of 2020.
“We will also be working with some of the UK’s leading foodservice brands and suppliers as part of our packaging forum as we seek to find alternatives to problematic materials and unnecessary single-use items, with a focus on items within our catering disposables range, such as hard black plastic black food containers and straws.
“The ‘2 Zero 20’ pledge takes an evidence-based approach to the use of plastics and part of our commitment is to launch an education campaign to help our customers become more plastic responsible. While we know that problematic, non-recyclable plastic needs to be removed, in some cases, plastic may be the most environmentally-friendly packaging material to use.
“This not about individual business, it is about the industry working together for a more sustainable future and we hope that our example will encourage other foodservice wholesalers, large and small, to take a similarly proactive stance to addressing this issue.”
In addition to its commitment to cut the use of non-recyclable hard black plastics, Brakes is working with suppliers and customers to look at how to increase the levels of recycling that takes place in the foodservice industry. It will also work with industry to improve labelling that will help customers and consumers increase recycling rates.
Brakes will also launch an education programme among its own staff, working with a leading charity, where depot staff will pick up litter in local communities and recycle the contents.