There is growing concern over the impacts that plastics, especially Single-Use Plastics (SUPs), are having on our environment and on our health.
South Western Railway (SWR), the train operating company that operates the South Western franchise, has an ambition to lead the UK’s railway sector in its transition away from SUPs. SWR commissioned Useful Projects to review its use of SUPs within their operations, customer purchased items and business tenants at their stations and to provide recommendations and a roadmap for reducing and eliminating SUPs across SWR, to align with targets set within their ‘Journey to Better’ sustainability strategy (2022).
Our methodology included:
- A review of what others are doing: A review of published plastic roadmaps to understand critical targets in SUP elimination and an exploration into best practice case studies in plastics management across the transport industry.
- Observational analysis: Site visits to stations and depots across the network. The aim of the observational analysis was to understand the day-to-day management of waste and the variety of SUPs that are disposed of.
- Quantitative analysis: Data analysis that assessed the supply and sales data of plastic packaged products sold by station retailers, corporate product procurement data regarding plastic products, and product use data regarding special projects.
The output was a report presenting key circular economy opportunities for the top five SUP waste streams and recommendations for the organisational and operational level. It also included a roadmap aligning policies, interventions and SWR internal targets, setting out a clear hierarchy of actions for SWR to follow until 2030.