One-off webinar to equip businesses to tackle single-use plastics and lead transformation

Businesses have been urged to transform their operations to eliminate single-use plastic and help rid the ocean from plastic pollution in a cutting-edge sustainability webinar.

Hosted by sustainability website edie.net with waste management experts phs Group, businesses were challenged to review their organisations and map their use of plastic for product creation, packaging and by staff to eradicate single-use plastic. However, businesses wanting to achieve a true transformation were tasked with taking this approach through their entire operations, including their logistics and supply chain.

Speakers on the special, one-off webinar entitled Single-use plastics: How to lead a business transformation’, included Fiona Ball, head of Sky Ocean Rescue, A Plastic Planet’s co-founder Sian Sutherland, Cranswick's site director of Gourmet Pastry, Andy Mayer, and Maria Giovanna Sandrini of phs supply chain partner Aquafil, an Italian company that gives new life to plastic waste.

A commitment to ‘doing the right thing’ saw phs re-examine its supply chain for its floor mats which it provides in workplaces, schools and organisations across the country. Switching from traditional nylon, phs now uses ECONYL® nylon for all its floor mats from Aquafil; a regenerated yarn created from discarded fishing nets in the ocean. These ‘ghost nets’, which make up 46% of plastic waste in the sea, is collected and recycled into ECONYL® regenerated nylon used by phs to create its floor mats, helping phs and its customers tackle their use of single-use plastic and clean up the ocean.

Maria Giovanna Sandrini, of Aquafil, said: “We decided to write a different story where the waste is not the end – but the beginning. As a nylon manufacturer, our approach to the problem of plastic pollution was to create ECONYL® regenerated nylon which can be used again and again. So we had invented a completely new supply chain, trying to convert our business from a linear to a circular model. Not only is this a significant achievement for us but the benefits filter along the supply chain; using ECONYL® for its floor mats helps phs become a more sustainable business and reduce its reliance on plastics and, likewise, the same impact is felt by the organisation which buys these floor mats and every person who uses them each day.”

Also tackling single-plastic use is Cranswick Gourmet Pastry, one of the largest food producers in Britain, which has pledged to halve its plastic use by 2025. Andy Mayer commented: “Internal plastic mapping helped us understand how, why and where plastic is used alongside customer and product packaging reviews. Employee engagement has been an essential attribute to our success.”

Cranswick also highlights the need for businesses to work together to achieve transformation. Andy continued: “There are three main things we need to achieve; educating consumers on what can and can’t be recycled, simplifying all packaging and collaborating together if we’re going to make a difference. It’s important we create demand for recycled material so we drive the need for recycling through the industry.”

On the webinar, Fiona Ball, head of Sky Ocean Rescue, cited eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean every year and that 50% of plastic produced is used only once, for an average of 12 minutes. She said: “We want to shine a spotlight on the issues affecting ocean health, making small but impactful changes, inspiring others to make a change and finding innovative solutions to the problem of ocean plastic.”

To this end, all of Sky’s products and front-of-house operations are single-use plastic free, as is 25% of its logistics. Fiona added: “Business transformation isn’t only about our end products and production but also in the logistics and supply chain. A lot of the changes have been made by looking at things very differently and that’s helped by having a strong and fast target.”

And while a lot of public attention has been turned to the scale of plastic pollution and its impact on our oceans, Sian Sutherland, of A Plastic Planet, believes now is the time for change.

"Let’s turn off the plastic tap together,” she said. “We have far more power than we think. All of us, to some degree, are plastic addicts. But now we know what we know, we know we have to change. Until now, there has been a huge amount of noise and not a lot of action. 2019 is going to be a year where things ramp up and we’re going to see action and not just tokenism.”

Watch a recording of the Single-use plastics: How to lead a business transformation webinar at: https://www.tinyurl.com/saveplastic

For more information on phs Group, visit https://www.phs.co.uk/ or follow @phsGroup on Twitter and phs Group on LinkedIn

Find out more about phs group by viewing their company profile, here.



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