Whitbread to remove ‘unnecessary’ single-use plastics from premises by 2025
Hospitality firm Whitbread has pledged to rid all 800 of its UK hotels and restaurants of unnecessary single-use plastics by 2025, and has called on other UK firms to do the same.
Whitbread has already removed more than four tonnes of single-use plastics from its premises by switching to paper straws and will target sauce sachets, nappy bags and textile packaging over the coming months.
The firm owns Premier Inn, which looks set to reduce the equivalent of another 13 Olympic-sized swimming pools of plastic just by removing the plastic wrapping from staff uniform.
Whitbread has also published research from a commissioned survey which has found that 58% of the public have stopped using products and services from firms that are failing to set and deliver ambitious sustainability strategies, with 74% claiming that more needs to be done by businesses in the local area to help improve sustainability.
The 2025 timeframe is a popular option for businesses. Unilever has announced it will halve its use of virgin plastic by 2025 by reducing plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes, increasing the amount of recycled plastics it uses and collecting and processing more plastic packaging than it sells.
A host of businesses are also signed up to the UK Plastics Pact commitments for 2025. Under the pact, signatories make four main commitments for 2025: eliminating unnecessary single-use packaging through redesign; making all plastic packaging 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable; achieving recycling and composting rates of 70% or more for packaging, and including 30% recycled content across all packaging.
So far, 127 members, garnering support from waste management firms, local authorities, universities and SMEs alongside the founding food and drinks and consumer goods giants.
Whitbread is also taking bold steps with its energy strategy. Premier Inn became the first UK hotelier to install a battery storage unit at a hotel, after fitting a 100kW device at its Edinburgh Park location. As part of a partnership with energy firm E.ON, the Whitbread-owned firm installed the lithium-ion battery at the 200-room hotel, in a bid to better manage the site’s energy consumption.
The 200kWh battery will be used to store excess energy generated through the hotel’s rooftop solar array and will be used for at least two hours each day in order to secure energy supplies during times of peak demand and low generation.
Premier Inn said in a statement that it chose the Edinburgh Park site to trial the technology for the first time as Scotland is a large producer of renewable power – particularly onshore and offshore wind – which can be prone to volatility.