#PlasticFreeJuly: How are businesses reducing plastic in their operations?

Environment - Jul 13, 2021

The impact of plastic on the environment has been a central focus in discussions around climate action for the past few years. Most recently, the European Union banned single-use plastic in its member states, recognising the impact of plastic pollution and the importance of reducing and eliminating plastic on the journey towards a sustainable economy. To mark #PlasticFreeJuly we take a look at the steps some of our own members have taken to reduce plastic pollution.

Reduce

Business in the Community Ireland

Aldi has taken some important steps in the reduction of plastic use in their products. Earlier this year, Aldi has introduced new, fully recyclable wax paper packaging across two of its own-label bread products, Wholemeal Sliced Pan and White Family Pan. The switch will see 18 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic removed from stores each year and is part of Aldi’s long-term plastic reduction programme created to ensure that 100% of Aldi’s own brand packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable next year.

As part of the same programme, Aldi has also introduced new, fully recyclable paper straws across its own-label Kids Smoothies and Orange/Apple Juice Cartons, removing more than than 4.5 million single-use plastic straws from Aldi’s 145 stores each year. This equates to a massive saving of three tonnes of non-recyclable plastic.

Reuse

Business in the Community Ireland

Kevin Donnelly, MD Britvic Ireland pictured at the Ballygowan bottling facility in Newcastle West, Limerick – David Clynch

Ballygowan, is reusing plastic by moving its full range of grocery products to RPet, fully recycled and recyclable bottles. The shift to recycled bottles will not only remove 51 million virgin plastic bottles from circulations, but it will also reduce the brand’s plastic consumption by 1,533 tonnes per year and will set a precedent for businesses who are looking for a similar sustainable alternative to their virgin plastic products.

This decision is part of Britvic Ireland’s ambition to reduce direct carbon emissions by 50% and indirect carbon emissions by 36% by 2025. Ballygowan is taking a lead within that ambition, having reduced its direct carbon emissions by over 90%.

Recycle

Business in the Community Ireland

Tesco Ireland has led the way in plastic recycling this year by becoming the first retailer in Ireland to provide a soft plastic recycling facility. Tesco has partnered with Irish manufacturing company Paltech, an engineering company that recycles plastic waste into products. Through Paltech’s patented technology, the plastic collected at Tesco’s in-store recycling stations will be turned into construction materials to be used in the Tesco Ireland store network for new stores, and in store maintenance and refits including buildings, car-park barriers and signage, in the near future.

At BITCI, sustainability is one of our areas of expertise. Through the advice and guidance we provide to our member companies, we are seeing a shift in how businesses think about sustainability. Initiatives like these are part of business efforts to put plans into action and reduce the impact they have on the environment.

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