Inspire Cut Down on Single-use Plastics

With single-use plastic products being one of the hottest issues in the catering world right now, we’ve been taking steps towards reducing plastic use across all our client sites.

The environmental impact of plastic products is becoming more and more prominent every passing year. Tonnes of waste ends up in our landfills and oceans, affecting the balance of wildlife and putting the planet’s ecosystems in danger. It’s becoming increasingly important for all industries to begin cutting down (or eliminating all together) the volume of plastics used in their products, and nowhere is this truer than in the catering industry.

Several common products used in catering are made from plastics, including utensils, wrappers and bottles. Many of these are single use for convenience, so are disposed of immediately and not often recycled. While this approach has served the industry so far, it’s becoming harder and harder to ignore the wastefulness and environmental impact of disposable products, so there needs to be a shift towards providing catering products that are more sustainable.

There are several ways for catering to be more environmentally friendly, whether it’s as simple as ensuring that wrappers, utensils and bottles are disposed of properly rather than littered, promoting recycling, or offering products made from either recycled or biodegradable materials. At Inspire Catering, we have been making several changes to our sites to ensure that they are not just cutting down on plastic, but also promoting eco-friendly habits for customers.

One of these changes has been making sure that none of our sites use plastic straws. This has been one of the biggest recent changes across catering and the service industry, spurred on by revealing documentary and news footage that showed how plastic straws dumped in the ocean harmed marine life. (

In place of plastic, we have introduced Vegeware straws in each of our sites that need them, such as South Lanarkshire College’s East Kilbride campus. These straws are made from bamboo paper and are 100% biodegradable, as well as being recyclable. Where possible, we have also removed straws all together to cut down on waste at certain sites where they are not needed as much.

Continuing this environmental awareness at the East Kilbride campus, we have also been promoting reusable coffee cups to students and staff, offering our own branded cups for purchase with the incentive of 5 free hot drinks. Customers who use these cups also receive 10p off every hot drink they buy, further promoting a sustainable approach to takeaway drinks that cuts out disposable products all together.

This has been furthered through our partnership with the Cup Movement, which encourages using reusable containers for drinks and the elimination of disposable plastic products within catering.

Visit their website to find out more about how they are helping change Scotland’s approach to single-use cups.

We have also been making efforts to move away from single-use plastics in our school sites. One way we have achieved this is by using dishwasher friendly beakers for drinks, which can be cleaned and reused rather than simply thrown away. Inspire Catering school sites such as St. Columba’s School have also been encouraging pupils to bring their own water bottles to school.

By having these systems like these in place in schools, children can be encouraged from a young age to be conscious of the environment and get into good habits such as recycling and cutting down on disposable products.

We hope that providing customers across each of our catering sites with these options will help to show the importance of cutting out single-use plastics and encourage a new attitude that will help to lower our collective impact on the environment.

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