Sodexo has strengthened its commitment to remove single-use plastic items from its operations by making available only wood, paper, cardboard or fibre-based take-away bags, straws, plates, cutlery and stirrers.

Sodexo becomes the largest foodservice provider to implement such a commitment in Europe, going beyond the upcoming European Union Single-Use Plastic Directive taking effect July 1st, 2021.

This marks a significant milestone in the company’s commitment to prioritise alternatives to plastic for single-use items in its operations and sees the phasing out of remaining stock of plastic items at concerned sites across Europe. 

From 1 March 2021 Sodexo UK and Ireland has stopped the use of these five items as well as single use polystyrene at all appropriate foodservice sites. Exceptions are currently being made for its justice and healthcare sites where alternative-material options are not always adequate for medical reasons inline with guidance or for security concerns, at these sites Sodexo will keep the use of single-use plastic items to a minimum. 

Simon Mussett, head of waste management at Sodexo UK & Ireland said:

We understand the role we play in the global efforts to reduce the use of plastics in our daily lives. We are embedding circular economy approaches in our offers to clients and our operations to ensure all waste streams have a beneficial use and nothing goes to waste.

“In the UK and Ireland we began the phasing out of these products in May 2018 with the removal of plastic straws and stirrers, this was followed in January 2020 with the banning of purchasing polystyrene and single use plastic bags. Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic the purchase of some polystyrene items was permitted, but we are pleased that from the beginning of this month we have renewed our commitment and focus on eliminating the use of these products at all sites where we can."

This is a positive step for Sodexo in our fight to tackle unnecessary waste and by eliminating the use of single use plastic versions of these five items and single use polystyrene we will remove some 38 million single use plastic items.

Sodexo is also working with local authorities, suppliers and partners towards reusable options and increased recycling rates at our sites. For remaining plastic items used in its foodservice sites such as central kitchen containers, take-away food containers, cups and lids, Sodexo continues to evaluate sustainable alternatives.

Reducing our reliance on single-use plastic is part of the positive impact of doing business with Sodexo. Last month Sodexo UK and Ireland published its latest Social Impact Pledge, an ethical manifesto setting out its commitments in four impact pathways, People, Planet, Places and Partners.

Sodexo’s responsibility to protect the Planet remains, as it has always been, at the forefront of its business strategy. It conducts its business in such a way that it brings positive impact to the world, drives progress, and respects the resources on which our future depends.

This means implementing a strategy of reducing, recovering, and repurposing to minimise or eliminate waste and to reduce unnecessary energy consumption. These activities will enable us to help cut carbon, not only at Sodexo, but also in partnership with our clients and supply chain.

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