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Employees welcome alternatives to pointless plastic

Staff at UK Power Networks are ditching the need to throw away up to 100,000 plastic bottles a month and taking up reusables instead.

From Press releases - 25 October 2018 12:00 AM

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The country’s biggest electricity distributor is offering its 6,000 staff a one-litre aluminium bottle or a two-litre durable plastic bottle to use while they work helping to keep the lights on.

In the summer months, staff including many who are based out on the road responding to incidents on the electricity network - were using 90-100,000 plastic bottles each month and in the winter 50-70,000. Already around 5,500 new aluminium bottles have been ordered and staff have taken up more than 3,300 2.1 litre bottles.

Calls to end the ever-increasing plastic pollution have been growing since David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II aired on the BBC this time last year, and revealed what was happening in our oceans.

In another move to stop pointless single-use plastic, some power tools are no longer being delivered to employees in a large plastic case, instead they are supplied in a cardboard box, which can be easily recycled. The company has already supplied 24 tools in cardboard boxes instead of plastic over the first eight weeks of the scheme.

UK Power Networks is also about to start a trial recycling its plastic buckets that normally get sent to landfill. In the last year the firm used over 183,000 six-litre buckets that contain resin, which is mixed and used for connecting two electricity cables together with a water tight seal.

Now, three of its London depots are going to trial a first-of-its-kind system, where they can be collected, cleaned and recycled, then turned into other items and therefore diverted from landfill.

Jennifer Backstrom, UK Power Networks lead sustainability advisor said; “We take our environmental responsibilities seriously. Our staff need water for their welfare, whatever job they are doing. Staff asked us to reduce our plastic use and we listened.

“The reusable bottles, cardboard boxes and bucket trial are just three of the ways we are working to help our environment and early indications show they are being well received by our employees.”