EY to remove 7.7 million single-use plastic items from its UK offices

Financial services provider EY has outlined plans to reduce its consumption of single-use plastic items by more than 7.7 million pieces, by offering all staff reusable cups and bottles for personal use.

EY announced its “biggest step yet” to reducing its plastics consumption today (23 July), by announcing plans to stop serving and providing single-use plastic and paper cups at all of its UK offices.

The firm will switch to reusable alternatives in autumn 2018 on a site-by-site basis, due to be completed by the end of the year. Employees will be given a reusable cup and bottle for personal use and no disposable cups will be made available.

According to EY, the move, alongside a recent phase-out of plastic cutlery and catering equipment, will reduce plastics consumption by more than 7.7 million pieces, equating to 57 tonnes annually.

EY’s Environmental lead Caroline Artis said: “Our commitment as an organisation to minimise our environmental impact has resulted in the decision to switch all our offices away from single-use plastic by the end of 2018.

“Feedback from our people has highlighted that plastic pollution is one of their biggest environmental concerns and I am so proud of this initiative supporting our continued efforts to build a better working world.”

EY will introduce more initiatives to cut back on the amount of plastic it consumes in the future.

Plastic pledges

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050. In fact, the value of plastic packaging material lost from the economy is worth $80-120bn annually.

These findings, combined with heightened consumer pressures, has seen a host of companies outline action plans to reduce plastics consumption. The BBC, for example, will launch a new “three-step plan” to remove single-use plastics from its operations by 2020.

Fellow broadcasting company Sky announced that all single-use plastics will be removed from its products, operations and supply chain by 2020. Even the UK Parliament has announced its goal to “virtually eliminate” single-use plastics from its internal operations by 2019.

Matt Mace

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