Saturday, 10 April 2021

Helping reduce plastic one cup at a time

I know it sounds a bit like a song and dance, in fact Barnum comes to mind: 'One stalwart chap with a cup and bunch of hours...'

Now having the hours and thanks to Lloyds Banking Group I also have my 'Keep Cup'. So how does this help reduce plastic? The main purpose of the 'Keep Cup' was to use it and reuse it in the cafés, restaurants and vending machines.

As a member of our Mission and Society Committee I thought I would share this cup story.

Towards the end of 2018 a gradual rollout of 'Keep Cups' took place in over 48 UK office sites, as part of the challenge to remove single use plastic. Was this an early Christmas present from the management? In some ways YES! The reduction in plastic usage was amazing!

A previous successful pilot in Bristol managed to avoid sending 250,000 single use items into the waste stream in 10 weeks. Across the estate saw 4.3 million single use cups in the onsite cafŽs and restaurants, a further 16.7 million plastic cups in vending machines and over 14.4 million condiment sachets along with 4.30 million items of plastic cutlery.

What made this a real success:
• Cups were removed from the hot drinking vending machines, so that we would have to use our 'Keep Cup'.
• Condiment sachets were replaced by dispensers.
• Plastic cutlery was replaced by metal cutlery and drop off stations for used items were put in place for collection.
• A levy of 25p was introduced on drinks served in disposable cups through the cafŽs and restaurants, similar to the UK Government plastic bag charge.

So it can be seen that by the end of 2019 great reductions had taken place throughout the estate. To reduce the single use cups in the water towers all staff were given an aluminium cool drinks bottle.

The reduction in plastic reusable cups continued 'one cup at a time.'
Sadly as we came to March 2020 my planned retirement came - O Happy Days! Little did I know that I would take everyone with me due to lockdown. The staff then started to become homebased.

As we now have easing of restrictions and return to a new 'normal' have you noticed face masks and gloves dropped in the street adding to the plastic toxic waste?

The BBC1 programme aired 1st September with Anita Rani and Hugh-Fernley Whittingstall 'War on Plastic - The Fight goes on' highlighted once again that plastic waste was increasing.

The fight does go on - can we as individuals once again reduce our plastic use and can business reduce theirs?

Br Ian Haggis

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Church House is the Headquarters of the Moravian Church in the British Province and is located in London at:
Moravian Church House, 

5 Muswell Hill, 
N10 3TJ


020 8883 3409

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