16 Nov 2018
Icon - Health and Wellbeing

WasteLESS Week 2018 – Making a difference

This post was written by Nick Blackmun, Retail Operations Manager, Sodexo Defence & Government Services.

With such a huge focus on single use plastics across the globe, I felt it was important to find a way to make a positive change in Sodexo. Given the large volumes of transactions we process each year through our retail shops on our defence sites, I felt there was a real opportunity to bring about a significant improvement in our consumption of single use plastic bags. Our annual WasteLESS Week campaign gave us a perfect opportunity to significantly change the way we operate.

Once we ran the numbers, we identified around 300,000 transactions in the last 12 months where plastic carrier bags were purchased along with other goods – that sealed it for me!

Removing approximately 300,000 single use plastic carrier bags from circulation was the right thing for us to work towards and the responsible thing to do. As an environmentally friendlier alternative, we chose to introduce reusable bags for customers to purchase, encouraging them to reduce the amount of single use items they waste.

Before WasteLESS Week we communicated the change to prepare the shops. They needed to stop reordering plastic bags to reduce the remaining stock and start purchasing replacement biodegradable paper alternatives. It was also a good opportunity to remind the retail outlets to encourage the responsible use of any bags purchased and reuse wherever possible. We launched the change in WasteLESS Week and it’s been a huge success.

I am so proud to have implemented such a positive change across our retail shops. Every little counts in reducing the use of single use plastics. Feedback from customers, clients and employees has been fantastic and we will continue to develop the way we work with our suppliers and partners to improve our customers’ shopping experience and help create a better tomorrow.

I would encourage anyone with a great idea to share it with their seniors or line manager; no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, we can use our scale for good and make a fantastic impact.

Read the official Sodexo press release covering WasteLESS Week and the changes made by the Defence retail shops here.

WasteLESS Week is a five-day annual campaign that Sodexo teams run during October at client sites around the world. This year, in the UK and Ireland WasteLESS Week took place between the 22 – 26 October 2018, with a focus on plastic reduction.

Sites across the UK and Ireland used WasteLESS Week 2018 as a catalyst to implement waste reducing initiatives – from our colleagues in Cyprus to Tillery Valley Foods, sites replaced single use plastic bags, held team quizzes and welcomed visits from recycling experts.

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