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Sustainability experts invite businesses to reduce waste and prevent plastic pollution

Preventing plastic waste was the focus of an open virtual workshop for businesses in the Solent area last week. Twenty two organisations took part in the event including universities and local authorities, commercial businesses and business networks.

The event, co-hosted by the Environment Agency, Greentech South and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Sustainable Business Network, featured insights, tips and case studies to help companies maximise resources, reduce plastic waste and prevent plastic pollution.

Participants had the opportunity to discuss issues they face in-house and within supply chains, hear about sustainability and plastic reduction charterships and certifications, and were offered support to tackle plastic pollution. They will also heard from speakers representing Business in the Community, Marwell Wildlife, the University of Southampton and Southampton City Council.

In the UK it is estimated that five million tonnes of plastic is used every year, nearly half of which is packaging. And the UK recycling/recovery rate increased annually until  2017 before falling back to 43.8% in 2018.

Environment Agency project lead Jonathan Harvey said: “More people have become aware of the negative consequences of our throw away economy in recent years, and consumers are showing a desire for a less wasteful culture.

“Leading UK businesses have recognised the importance of challenging their own consumption and production activities.  Many businesses want to tap into these changing consumer attitudes and do their bit to protect our planet by reflecting this in their product and services.

“It is an opportunity to review and change business practices, innovate, and successfully achieve environmental ambitions, both within their own operations and their supply chains.”

Following the event, 67% of attendees said that they were either Very likely or Likely to make a commitment to tackle plastic pollution. The Environment Agency’s plastic and sustainability team will continue to check-in with these businesses to ensure that they are supported to make these commitments and make plastic pollution a thing of the past.