In the UK, it is estimated that plastic packaging will make up 67% of plastic waste by 2030. With just 46% of this currently being recycled, we all have a responsibility to improve our management of plastic.
In recent years we have all become more aware of the impact our choices make on the planet, and most of us are even changing our buying habits. This has led to a range of innovations in packaging and materials in every industry and cleaning is no different. It has become increasingly clear that we need to reduce our dependency on this material and make sure the plastic we do use is properly collected and recycled. At BCHS, we aim to do this by sourcing products from suppliers that are working to remove plastic packaging and reduce plastic headed for landfill.
Plastic is an incredibly versatile material, able to be both rigid and flexible and provide lightweight protection to a range of products. However, plastic is made using fossil fuels and when it is not managed properly, it ends up in the environment where it will stay for millions of years. In 2019 alone, 368 million tons for plastic were produced worldwide, adding to the 9.2 billion tons produced since 1950. Much of this plastic still exists in some form to this day.
Within our Cleanline, Pristine and CleanWorks ranges, we aim to reduce the use of virgin plastic, encourage uptake of reusable bottles and reduce transport emissions.
Our Cleanline products include number of concentrated cleaning options suitable for a multitude of building areas. By choosing a 5 litre super concentrate over an equivalent 750ml ready-to-use trigger spray, you can save up to 33kg of plastic and reduce transport emissions by up to 98%!
We are working to further improve the sustainability of our Cleanline products, ensuring that all of our 5 litre containers use a minimum of 40% recycled content*, all 750ml bottles are made of 100% recycled plastic and all Cleanline containers are fully recyclable through your on-site waste streams when empty. This way, we can help to reduce single-use plastics at your sites and keep plastic in the supply chain for longer.
Using our Cleanline concentrates in conjunction with our reusable trigger spray bottles can divert even more plastic from landfill, as all of our reusable bottles are made using post-consumer plastic such as your old milk bottles!
In addition to this, we have also eliminated plastic packaging in our Pristine paper range and move more of the production to UK manufacturers to reduce supply chain emissions. We have now switched from a plastic to paper sleeve wrap in two of our Pristine hand towel products, removing over 967K pieces of single-use plastic (SUP) packaging from the supply chain**, further reducing non-recyclable packaging going onto customer sites.
Our CleanWorks cloths present a different challenge as the cloths themselves are inherently single-use but represent an important piece of any cleaner’s equipment, particularly in sites where there are no laundry facilities. Whilst we are pursuing non-polyester cloth materials, it will take time before a non-polyester equivalent is available.
Until such time, we are working on other ways we can reduce the environmental impact of our CleanWorks cloths. This year, we will be moving to a lighter-weight plastic film and larger pack sizes to reduce the total plastic packaging required. This small change will reduce plastic use across Bunzl by as much as 7.5 tonnes a year!
These are just a handful of ways we can help you reduce your plastic use and your environmental impact. At BCHS, we are also striving to reduce our carbon emissions through low emissions vehicles, installing LEDs throughout our service centres and reusing packaging. We can now work with you to find sustainable alternatives that suit your needs and report on the carbon emissions associated with your deliveries so we can work together towards a sustainable supply chain
*Where possible. Some chemicals can only be packaged in 100% virgin plastic due to health and safety requirements
**Based on an annual volume of 73,009 cases