How we can reduce foodservice’s reliance on single use plastic and reduce the environmental impact of water service across the industry?

The SRA started its partnership with leading ethical water company Belu in 2016. 

The long-term goal was to support and drive the UK hospitality sector towards the most sustainable water service in the world. Subsequently, the partnership has extended beyond that initial goal. Over the three years, we’ve worked together to highlight a number of issues including water use and the use of all disposables in commercial kitchens. Collaboration on events, shared content, toolkits and guides have all proved successful ways of working together to move the industry towards raised knowledge and increased action on the use of disposables.

With more than 7billion single-use plastic bottles sold each year in the UK, only half of which are recycled, foodservice needs to play its part in reducing our thirst for disposables. Belu approached the SRA in 2016 with a plan to move the sector towards a viable, sustainable water service. .

With bottled water providing valuable income for many operators, there was a shared understanding that an overnight switch away from bottled water was unrealistic. As the first step in the long-term plan, a roundtable discussion was convened at Food Matters Live which provided valuable learnings for both organisations. This provided the basis for a Conscious Water Toolkit, designed to provide operators with the information they required to make good decisions about their water service, helping them to assess current practice, identify opportunities for improvement and take action. 

With increased industry and consumer awareness of plastic as a concern, the SRA and Belu extended their partnership to produce a toolkit that would not only highlight the issues but also fill a considerable knowledge gap when it came to alternative materials.

The co-authored Unwrapping Plastic: Understanind disposables in hospitality – has proved a popular resource and has been downloaded 750 times in 15 countries. Belu has also provided expert advice to SRA members. This included a workshop for Eurostar to support the train operator in its campaign to halve its plastic use. As the partnership enters its fourth year in 2020, the SRA and Belu will be co-authoring a number of blogs addressing some of the myths surrounding plastic and packaging.

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