Sodexo has committed to eliminate all single-use plastic bags and stirrers in North America by 2019 to reduce its impact on the environment.
As part of its North American Single-Use Plastics Reduction Plan, the food services and facilities management company will also get rid of polystyrene foam items (cups, lids and food containers) by 2025. In addition to this, it will only offer straws on request, while moving towards more sustainable materials.
Sodexo’s plan will remove more than 245 million pieces of unnecessary single-use items, eliminating a volume of plastic straws and stirrers that, if laid end to end, would reach from North Pole to South Pole…twice.
Ted Monk, vice president for corporate responsibility at Sodexo, said: “As a company serving consumers in universities, workplaces, hospitals, schools, stadiums, and so many other venues, we understand both the potential impact we can make through a commitment to reduction and the real benefit that some of these products bring to people every day.
“We believe there’s tremendous room for reducing waste without having a single person who uses our services feel like they are being excluded.”
Erin Simon, Director of Sustainability R&D at World Wildlife Fund, United States, said: “Single-use plastic waste often ends up in nature, and has a devastating effect on species.
“Sodexo’s plan to phase out unnecessary single-use plastics is an important first step in their commitment in tackling the plastic waste crisis.”
Through Sodexo’s Better Tomorrow 2025 corporate responsibility roadmap, it has committed to eliminating avoidable waste globally by 2025. It will continue to research and introduce new environmentally friendly methods such as re-usable materials, organic materials and bioplastics to help prevent avoidable waste going to landfills.
Jill Houghton, President & CEO of Disability:IN, said: “We support efforts to prevent waste. However, it’s important to remember that for many people, these aren’t convenience products, they are necessities.
“We’re happy to provide Sodexo with guidance that ensures their facilities are fully inclusive of people with disabilities and are fully accessible to everyone.”
John Hocevar, a Greenpeace marine biologist, added: “Sodexo’s comprehensive plan to reduce its reliance on single-use plastic will have major benefits for the environment and human health.
“Eliminating Styrofoam is a huge step forward. We also applaud Sodexo for committing to invest in solutions that involve re-use and not just other throwaway items.”