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World Refill Day encourages us to celebrate the power of individual action in the fight against plastic pollution. It’s the small changes in everyday behaviour, such as simply carrying a reusable water bottle, that build to form a global movement with a huge impact.

So, you’re keen to reduce your plastic waste output but where do you start? When it comes to sourcing sustainable alternatives, it can be difficult to determine which resources are reliable and it’s easy to be perplexed by specialist terminology. As your sustainable venue, 15Hatfields has highlighted key resources to help you on your journey to removing, refilling and recycling.

Removing single-use plastic from your home or business

In a recent interview with SquareMeal, our General Manager Warren Campbell explained why we should be cautious of ‘biodegradable’ plastic being promoted as the sustainable solution to plastic pollution. Biodegradable materials cannot be recycled through conventional recycling services. In fact, when mixed with recyclable plastics, biodegradable plastics contaminate the recycling stream.

We are firm believers that the most effective way to reduce plastic pollution is to avoid the use of plastic in the first place. In 2019 we committed to removing all single-use plastic from our venue and across our supply chain. Our research revealed that the plastic problem goes beyond packaging. From microplastics in detergents to polypropylene in tea bags, it can be found in all kinds of places!

If you’re wondering which plastics to tackle first, see our Make Plastic History success stories. Here, you will find sustainable substitutes for 12 household items which often contain, or are packaged in, plastic.

Refilling your reusable bottle, flask or container

The free Refill app lists thousands of places around the world where you can drink, eat and shop plastic-free. The container icons allow you to quickly identify where packaging-free items can be purchased, and reusable bottles can be refilled for free. Use the map to find local shops, restaurants and venues like 15Hatfields that have registered as a public refill station.

In 2018 we joined the #OneLess campaign which aims to raise awareness of ocean pollution and reduce plastic bottle waste. #OneLess has installed 29 drinking fountains around London and worked with over 94 businesses to remove single-use plastic water bottles. By investing in an in-house UV filtration and carbonation system, we have been able to provide filtered and cooled still and sparkling water, while preventing over 2.5 million single-use plastic water bottles going to landfill.

Recycling the unrecyclable

What can you do if a plastic-free alternative doesn’t exist yet? While only 9% of plastic waste is being recycled globally, it can be difficult to trust that waste management systems are successfully recycling items once they have left your bin. We have found a recycling company which has a zero to landfill policy. Pulse Environmental guarantees that 100% of our recycling is recycled and any non-recyclable waste is sent to the local carbon capture energy recovering plant in Deptford.

Certain types of plastic found in confectionery packaging, cosmetics and cleaning products are not recycled by the majority of recycling outlets. The scientists and material application specialists at TerraCycle have developed ways to recycle materials that have been previously considered unrecyclable. TerraCycle runs a number of free recycling programmes with over 2700 public drop-off points across the UK. We signed up in 2019 and have been recycling plastic bottle tops and vinyl gloves with TerraCycle ever since.

When you choose 15Hatfields to host your conference, dinner or meeting, you will spot reusable glassware around our venue. Since we opened our doors in 2008, we have encouraged venues to follow our lead in eliminating the use of disposable cutlery, cups and plates at events. From biscuit barrels and granola jars to water bottles made from recycled glass, we are passionate advocates of the refillable!

15Hatfields is proud to be the official venue of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). As Scotland becomes the first UK nation to enforce a ban on many single-use plastics, the CIEH Environmental Protection Panel continues to campaign around the waste reduction plans set out in the UK Government’s Environment Act.