Sodexo has strengthened its commitment to remove single-use plastic items from its operations by making available only wood, paper, cardboard or fibre-based take-away bags, straws, plates, cutlery and stirrers.
The company becomes the largest foodservice provider to implement such a commitment in Europe, going beyond the upcoming European Union Single-Use Plastic Directive taking effect from 1 July 2021.
This marks a significant milestone in the company’s pledge to prioritise alternatives to plastic for single-use items in its operations and sees the phasing out of remaining stock of plastic items at concerned sites across Europe.
From 1 March 2021 Sodexo UK and Ireland has stopped the use of these five items as well as single-use polystyrene at all appropriate foodservice sites.
Exceptions are currently being made for its justice and healthcare sites where alternative-material options are not always adequate for medical reasons in line with guidance or for security concerns. At these sites, Sodexo will keep the use of single-use plastic items to a minimum.
Simon Mussett, head of waste management at Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: “We understand the role we play in the global efforts to reduce the use of plastics in our daily lives. We are embedding circular economy approaches in our offers to clients and our operations to ensure all waste streams have a beneficial use and nothing goes to waste.”
Sodexo began the phasing out of these products in May 2018 with the removal of plastic straws and stirrers, and followed it in January 2020 with the banning of purchasing polystyrene and single use plastic bags.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the purchase of some polystyrene items was permitted, but from the beginning of this month Sodexo has renewed its commitment and focus on eliminating the use of these products at all sites where it can.
“This is a positive step for Sodexo in our fight to tackle unnecessary waste and by eliminating the use of single use plastic versions of these five items and single use polystyrene we will remove some 38 million single use plastic items,” said Mr Mussett.
Sodexo is also working with local authorities, suppliers and partners towards reusable options and increased recycling rates at its sites.
For remaining plastic items used in its foodservice sites such as central kitchen containers, takeaway food containers, cups and lids, the company is continuing to evaluate sustainable alternatives.