We must not let Brexit distract from the global war on single-use plastic

Catherine McGuinness
Single-Use Plastics Face Ban by E.U. Parliament
The Plastic Free City campaign is a rallying call to people and businesses to reduce single-use plastics across the Square Mile (Source: Getty)

At a time of ongoing uncertainty, and with so much attention on the drama unfolding in Westminster, it is easy to forget that there are other issues that are equally important.

And, of course, we’re not just talking about issues affecting us in the UK, but globally too.

One matter that certainly needs our attention is our impact on the environment: specifically the way in which we use, consume, and manage single-use plastics.

The uncertainty around Brexit has meant that many businesses and individuals have had to focus much of their time, effort, and resources on making sense of what’s happening and planning their own economic future.

But we know that there is a real desire among City firms to tackle single-use plastics. From banks and law firms to coffee shops and restaurants, there is a commitment to deliver change to reduce our environmental footprint.

You only have to look at the news and see the devastating impact of plastic pollution on our oceans, rivers, and the wildlife within them.

That’s why last week, we unveiled the first of 10 new City water refill points, to be rolled out this year, as part of our Plastic Free City campaign – reducing the need for people to buy single-use plastic bottles of water.

The water refill point, sponsored by the Cheapside Business Alliance, comes as 43 businesses across the Square Mile joined our war on

single-use plastic waste.

There are currently 149 City pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants that have become part of a network of water refill stations, where the public can fill reusable bottles – all found on the Refill app.

Our Plastic Free City campaign is a rallying call to people and businesses to reduce single-use plastics across the Square Mile.

As part of the campaign, another nine water refill points will be installed this year near transport hubs, in parks, and squares, and other areas of high footfall.

These points are a visible demonstration of our commitment to reducing and eradicating unnecessary single-use plastics which are blighting our waterways and damaging our environment.

But taking action against single-use plastics also makes good business sense.

Last year, we commissioned research which showed that four in five of the Generation Z (those aged between 18 and 22) workforce expect their employers to proactively protect the environment.

Of these, 80 per cent ranked tackling single-use plastics as important, while 37 per cent said that they would consider a potential employer’s environmental responsibility when looking for a job.

Our ambition is to make the City of London free of single-use plastics and harness the clear desire among workers, residents and visitors to eliminate their use.

Together, we can all play our part in transforming the way we use plastic. I urge you to think about the environmental legacy you want to leave behind. We must continue to make the City attractive to the best global talent.

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