‘Closing the loop’ on single-use plastic


 

As part of our #sendplasticpacking campaign, we wanted to hear from businesses who have identified areas of their business that generate the most waste and found a solution that not only benefits their business but the environment too. As a major visitor attraction, Glasgow Science Centre is in a fantastic position to make positive changes which can influence their staff members and customers alike. We spoke with the centre’s Facilities Manager Roddie Galbraith to discuss their Closed Loop partnership.

 

Does the Glasgow Science Centre have any initiatives in place to tackle single-use plastic waste?

As a business, Glasgow Science Centre was very aware of the large amount of waste being generated, particularly from our onsite cafe. The first step towards addressing this issue was to source compostable packaging from Vegware to use in our cafe. All Vegware products are made from plant-based materials which emit lower carbon and are recycled and sustainably sourced.

Once we had introduced this new packaging, it became clear that we also had to address our waste streams, as although our packaging was now compostable, we were not putting them in the appropriate place after use.

It was at this point we decided to sign up for Close the Loop, a service from Vegware, which takes food waste and used bio-degradable packaging for industrial composting, putting the waste into a high-grade horticultural compost facility. Our aspiration is to focus our waste streams even further, and the next step will be continued secondary separation to reduce the amount of plastic waste Glasgow Science Centre sends to landfills.

 

What benefits have you found from making this change from single-use plastics to biodegradable materials?

Reducing our plastic waste has been a great opportunity to help the environment and, in turn, be recognised by the community for our efforts. One of the main benefits for Glasgow Science Centre has been building great brand recognition by leading by example and standing at the forefront of general waste reduction. Through small changes such as this swap in our cafe, we can further influence and inform staff and customers alike on the importance of recycling.

As well as the benefit of increased brand recognition, Vegware also provides the Science Centre with a monthly report which details the weight of biodegradable packaging and general food waste being sent to the composting facility. Since June 2017, from the Science Centre alone, 10130kg has been collected for commercial composting by Vegware and used to ‘help feed future crops’.

 

Do you have any advice for businesses who also want to make changes within their organisation?

My main advice for any new idea would be: Planning is key. Implementation of initiatives such as ‘Closing the Loop’ must be cohesive, it cannot just be one department driving the change. You need buy in from every section of the business, especially including your primary waste producers. If you can get people on board, you can make successful changes to your business.

 

It’s amazing to see the change in people’s attitudes towards single-use plastic and packaging. I think the BBC’s Blue Planet documentary has had an enormous effect on how people view items such as straws, which have been so commonly used in the past, and are now being phased out and replaced with eco-friendly alternatives.

To learn more about the Glasgow Science Centre, visit their website here

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