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Environment / NorthLink replaces plastics with degradeable items

Company is ‘ahead’ of government waste targets

NORTHLINK Ferries has taken a big step to cut plastic waste and hit Scottish Government targets by replacing 210,000 items with ceramic or compostable ones.

The plastics, including glasses, cups, lids, teaspoons and portion pots, have either been removed or replaced with sustainable alternatives.

Fair trade beverage supplier Ethyco is supplying 100 per cent compostable single-use cups and lids for all NorthLink Ferries’ food and drink outlets.

Plastic catering pots have also been replaced with ceramic ones and reusable polycarbonate beakers have replaced wax-lined disposable drinking cups. The replacement beakers have led to approximately 87,000 disposable cups and 28,000 plastic lids being removed from the waste stream every year.

The company, operated by Serco, is now compliant with the ‘zero to landfill’ commitment for commercial general waste set for 2021 by the Scottish Government.

Serco NorthLink’s customer service director Seumas Campbell said: “Looking after the natural environment is such an important part of the service we provide.

Serco NorthLink customer service director Seumas Campbell with Craig Donoghue, managing director of One Stop Waste Solutions

“So we are passionate about minimising our impact on the world around us. The steps we have taken to remove single-use plastics are very positive and we will keep looking for more opportunities to reduce our environmental footprint.”

More than 5,000 polystyrene food trays used in children’s meal packages have been replaced by a plant-based and 100 per cent compostable alternative.

In crew areas polystyrene cups have been replaced with reusable ‘Thermos’ mugs with an annual reduction of 140,000 cups from landfill.

The savings on plastics include: 27,500 portion pots, 21,000 wrapped plastic glasses, 46,000 ripple cups, 12,000 ripple cup lids, 22,000 plastic cups and 34,000 plastic tumblers.

NorthLink Ferries also got the thumbs up from Aberdeen-based recycling and waste services company One Stop Waste Solutions which affirmed that NorthLink has already met the criteria for the 2021 ban on general commercial waste sent to landfill.

Managing director Craig Donoghue said: “We have been working closely with NorthLink Ferries since 2012 and in that time have seen a sustained effort to recycle and reduce waste.

“In particular, this commitment has peaked since 2017 coinciding with the ‘Attenborough effect’. The company’s ongoing commitment will continue to lead the way in the journey towards zero waste.”

All the figures quoted by NorthLink are approximate and based on the volumes of products ordered in 2017 that were not ordered in 2018 as they were either withdrawn or replaced with more sustainable options.