Water companies are in a great position to be a real driver for good practice over plastic pollution driving changes including the national policy debate. Many of the issues are central to drinking water and their roles. Southern Water and Thames Water take up the challenge. 

Southern Water launches Plastics Policy

Southern Water is committed to protecting the environment and supporting the circular economy.

Southern Water has launched a plastics policy to help ensure the company, its employees, suppliers and customers reduce plastic waste wherever possible.

Southern Water treats more than 700 million litres of wastewater every day, much of which is laden with items such as wet wipes, sanitary products and cotton buds. Last year, the company removed almost 9,000 tons of this type material at its sites across the region. As well as these large items, wastewater also contains plastic microfibres from clothing and tiny particles of plastic.

The first of its kind for a water company, the wide-ranging policy includes:

  • Carrying out an audit of its plastic use and setting targets for reduction
  • Working with its supply chain on reducing plastics and increasing recycling rates
  • Cutting out single use plastics in its offices and operations, wherever possible
  • Helping promote water bottle refill schemes across its region to reduce reliance on single-use plastic bottles
  • Expanding its Unflushables campaign to highlight the environmental impact of plastic waste
  • Funding academic studies into the removal and recycling of plastic waste

Launching the policy, Ian McAulay, Southern Water CEO, said that the plastics policy demonstrated the company’s commitment to reducing plastic waste in offices and operations and encouraging customers to make some simple changes in their lives too. Every business also had a responsibility to minimise its reliance on single-use plastics.

Click here to read the Southern Water plastics policy 

Thames Water launches Refill London tap water scheme to help cut plastic waste

Shops and businesses around London have joined a Thames Water scheme that offers people free tap water ‘refills’ as part of the Mayor of London’s plans to reduce single-use plastic bottles in the capital.

The average London adult buys more than three plastic water bottles every week – a startling 175 bottles every year per person. In total, some 7.7 billion plastic bottles are bought across the UK each year, resulting in substantial amounts of single-use plastic waste.

The Mayor is keen for Londoners to adopt small changes that can have a big environmental impact – like refilling bottles and cups with tap water, instead of needlessly buying new single-use ones.

He is supporting a pilot of the Refill London scheme which is run by Thames Water and City to Sea, a campaign group that aims to help stop ocean pollution. They will be recruiting even more businesses to the scheme over the coming weeks and months. And if this proves a success the Mayor plans to help roll the scheme out across the capital over the summer. Click here to read more

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