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Plastic action
“Plastic Action” is the name of the Birchall Foodservice programme to control single use plastics and support the UN Clean Seas international campaign.

Caterers are being urged to ‘do their bit’ and get involved in the global battle against plastic pollution. It’s time to take drastic action: Plastic Action!

Consumers are becoming more environmentally aware and expect traders to have answers. We hope our input will assist you in your decision-making and enable you to better address your customers’ queries and concerns.

Plastic action

We’re here to help

Plastic Action is an ongoing campaign and we will be bringing you regular news and updates via a dedicated news section in your Stir it up Promotions brochure. If you would like to see our newsletter on all things plastic please ask your sales contact for a copy.

Best wishes,

Colin Birchall


Industry News Headlines.
Spring 2018

Sodexo banning straws and stirrers.

Marks and Spencer joins Global Ghost Gear Initiative – a group committed to driving solutions to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear worldwide.

Country Range group engaging with all suppliers to replace single use plastic.

Birchall Foodservice stops plastic wrap for Stir it Up magazine from June 2018.

Hilton has pledged to ban plastic straws from 650 Hotels worldwide.

Selfridges bans fizzy drinks in plastic bottles

Waitrose to stop using disposable coffee cups

BBC Catering Service: By 2020, the BBC hopes to be free of single-use plastic across all sites

Richard Walker: MD & Sustainability director or Iceland: Walker threw down the gauntlet to the industry, pledging to remove all palm oil from Iceland own label food by the end of 2018, to tackle devastating rainforest destruction in southeast Asia. Walker has also stunned the recent Wrap-pact (involving almost 60 industry giants), claiming it doesn't go far enough.

Plastic action

This article helps remedy the misconceptions surrounding 'biodegradable plastics' and the processes involved in successful biodegradation. You may see plastic advertised as 'biodegradable', but in reality this simply isn't the case. 

However, this doesn't mean that there aren't more environmentally responsible alternatives on the market. Below is our guide to what we believe are the more environmentally viable options and our reasons why.

AVOID 'biodegradable plastic': Biodegradable plastic is constructed from PLA (Poly-lactic acid) which is a derivative of genetically modified maize. It isn't unusual to find products that are made from such materials to be marketed as 'biodegradable', however when the products are exposed to conditions such as those found in the sea, landfill or even your compost heap, the biodegradation process simply cannot take place. Furthermore, there aren't currently any specialised composting facilities in the UK that will accept these kinds of products. In addition to this, the issue is further exacerbated as this material contaminates regular plastic recycling, causing whole batches to be sent to landfill. 

AVOID 'degradable' plastic: Often falsely marketed as 'biodegradable', oxy-degradable, and photo-degradable plastics, these 'degradable plastics' are simply regular plastics with the addition of chemicals, to assist breaking it down into smaller pieces. With the problem of micro plastics becoming clearer, it is surely better to keep the item in one piece. Our best advice is to avoid them all together. 

Other Plastic: Polypropylene (type 5) and Crystal Polystyrene (type 6) are used to make most other single-use plastic glasses. While these plastics are not as sought after as PET, they are clean, uncoloured, single material plastic and will be readily accepted in mixed recycling. Polypropylene remains the most inexpensive, while crystal polystyrene remains the only option for stemware. 

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