Today is World Oceans Day, a global awareness initiative focused on preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean. Convenience plastics, which are generally used only once, can persist in our environment for 200 years or more. The devastating impact this has on our environment has been well documented. Governments and companies across the globe are pledging to take action and remove or reduce use of these plastics.

In support we are raising awareness across our business and launching our single-use plastics policy which explains what we are doing to reduce our plastic waste. A big focus for us is disposable cups – which often can’t be recycled and are used frequently throughout the working day. We’re encouraging our people to start bringing their own cups, or using our reusable mugs and glasses, from today to mark the occasion. And with our people’s support, we’re removing disposable cups completely where we can.

Facilities team members and our environmental champions with their mugs.We asked people at two of our largest offices - 6 St Andrew Square and 1 George Street in Edinburgh - if they wanted disposable cups removed for just World Oceans Day… or forever. A massive 91% said forever. So we’re putting that into action. This will mean 1 million fewer disposable cups every year being used at these sites. Our Facilities team and our Environmental Champions are working together today to ensure a positive changeover. We’ll also look at options to take this forward in our other sites still using disposable cups.

Plastic pollution is a problem in plain sight, we can work together to make a lasting impact. If you can’t reuse it, refuse it.

For more information on our approach, take a look at Investing To Turn The Tide, a blog post by Sandy MacDonald, our Head of Corporate Sustainability.

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