• Client: South Western Railway
  • Service:
    • Strategy/Routemap
  • Specialism:
    • Circular Economy
  • Sector:
    • Construction & Infrastructure
  • Status: Complete
South Western Railway Local Needs Analysis

There is growing concern over the impacts that plastics, especially single-use plastics (SUPs), are having on our environment and health.

South Western Railway (SWR), the train operating company that manages the South Western franchise, has an ambition to lead the UK’s railway sector in its transition away from SUPs.

Key circular economy opportunities

SWR commissioned Useful Projects to review its use of SUPs within their operations, customer purchased items, business tenants at their stations, in addition to providing recommendations and a roadmap for reducing and eliminating SUPs across their services.

This aligns with targets set within their ‘Journey to a Better Future’ Sustainability Strategy, established in 2022.

Our methodology included:

  • Industry reviews: a review of published plastic roadmaps across the Transport sector to understand critical targets in SUP elimination and an exploration into best practice case studies in plastics management.
  • Observational analysis: site visits to stations and depots across the network, with the aim of understanding day-to-day management of waste and the variety of SUPs that are disposed of.
  • Quantitative analysis: data analysis assessing 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 internal targets, setting out a clear hierarchy of actions for SWR to follow until 2030.

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