Great Food at Leeds tackle single-use plastic

Since the University launched the #2023plasticfree pledge , Great Food at Leeds (GFaL) have been pushing the boundaries to find single-use plastic free solutions. They’ve continued to step up this year, working hard to provide an excellent service for our University community despite the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019, GFaL marked the 1-year anniversary of the #2023plasticfree pledge by significantly contributing to the University removing one million pieces of single-use plastic from its operations.

This year GFaL have continued to work hard behind the scenes aiming to achieve the interim target to ‘remove single-use plastic from catering and offices by 2020’. This included a new recyclable cardboard packaging solution that would remove 125,000 single-use plastic trays and lids from Deli(very) operations.

Beverley Kenny, MBE, Deputy Director, Catering and Conferencing said:

GFaL are totally committed to the University pledge of 2023 plastic free. I am delighted that after a nine month project working with industry experts and our in-house team, we have a solution we can offer customers that doesn’t compromise the quality of the food and will significantly reduce the single-use plastics at the University.

Despite the complex operational challenges created by the Coronavirus outbreak, including the postponement of the Deli(very) packaging initiative, GFaL have continued to work with the University Sustainability service and procurement team to ensure all catering operations are working towards being single-use plastic free.

Positive changes have included using paper wallets for reusable cutlery, instead of plastic pre-packs; and working with one of their suppliers, Planglow, to create a bio-wrap film for packaging of all in-house products. This is made using plant-based organic materials, to replace traditional oil derived plastic sheets, and was created bespoke for GFaL following supplier engagement.

GFaL have also reintroduced reusable cups at all their outlets and in September 2020 installed accessible and easy to use recycling bins for disposable hot drink cups. For more information about these disposable cup recycling bins read our news story.

Looking ahead into next year, GFaL will be implementing some of the exciting projects they had planned for 2020. They have outlined a small number of single-use plastic items in their operations that they need to find solutions for and will continue to work with their suppliers to find sustainable alternatives.

GFaL are great advocates of Sustainability, to read more about their other initiatives, see their sustainability webpage.

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United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our work reducing single-use plastic is linked to the following SDGs:

  • Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.