Premier Inn owner Whitbread has announced an industry-leading ambition to eliminate the use of unnecessary* single-use plastics by 2025.
To achieve the ambitious target Whitbread, which operates hundreds of restaurants in addition to the UK’s biggest hotel company, is carrying out a root and branch review of plastic and packaging across its supply chain. To achieve its commitment, believed to be the most far-reaching in the hotel industry to date, it will work closely with its suppliers to forensically map out plastic usage and find alternatives to unnecessary single-use items.
Whitbread has a well-established track-record of minimising the use of single-use plastics – last year it became one of the first to ditch the use of plastic straws and stirrers while Premier Inn – unlike many hotel competitors – has never used miniature shower products.
Once realised, the latest move will mean the removal of hundreds of millions of pieces of unnecessary single-use plastic, including instantly recognisable consumer-facing products, such as sauce sachets but crucially, also behind-the-scenes plastics such as food and textile packaging.
Whitbread will eliminate unnecessary single use plastics, *by which it means eliminating all plastic which is used instantaneously and is unnecessary for food safety purposes; or its removal will not lead to unintended environmental consequences by its removal, such as increased waste or carbon emissions.
Plastics to be eliminated include items such as packaging, sauce sachets and nappy bags. In future, all such unnecessary products will be eliminated. Those which are still deemed necessary for the reasons above, such as in-room single portions of milk, will be reviewed in order to be reduced, replaced with recyclable alternatives or made from recycled plastic where possible.
Premier Inn Managing Director Simon Ewins is clear on the scale of the challenge ahead but believes it to be necessary as for the good of the business, its guests and the environment.
He said: “Whitbread has a long history of minimising the unnecessary use of single-use plastics – Premier Inn has never used miniature bath and shower products and we were one of the first businesses to eliminate plastic straws and stirrers, so we’ve already made huge steps, particularly in terms of consumer-facing plastics – this is just the start.
In many ways what we’re looking at now with our 2025 commitment is the less visible, less sexy stuff – the hard yards that collectively can make a huge difference. It’s about forensically examining our supply chain and eliminating the use of unnecessary single-use plastics wherever we can – from the products consumers will notice, to those behind-the-scenes that they won’t, right down to wrappers on textiles. As with any meaningful commitment to change – it won’t happen overnight but we’re unwavering in our belief that eliminating unnecessary single-use plastics is absolutely the right thing to do for our business, our guests and the environment”.
Whitbread’s industry-leading plastic ambition is part of its’ Force For Good Sustainability programme. Achievements under Force For Good include, over £15m raised for Great Ormond Street Hospital since 2012; the announcement of an industry-leading science-based carbon target of 50% reduction in carbon emissions intensity by 2025; plus a training and development scheme which has seen the completion of over 3,000 apprenticeships.