Hello, how can we help?

For Plastic Free July, our venue supervisor, Amy Perrett has compiled some tips for venues looking to cut their plastic waste output. 

Amy hates waste as much as she loves a challenge. As part of 15Hatfields’ team of sustainability champions, she’s played an important role in sourcing products with the best sustainable credentials and finding creative solutions for minimising waste.

Eliminating single-use plastic – where should venues start?

Switching from single-serve packaging to reusable items is the easiest place to start. Instead of serving ketchup in sachets for example, we buy in bulk bottles and decant the ketchup into small bowls. We also have many refillable containers at our venue, including water bottles and jars made from recycled glass. This allows us to serve tasty snacks single-use packaging free. Aesthetically, it also often enhances the look of your catering table display.

Collaborating with suppliers – what are your tips?

If plastic is still in use where plastic free alternatives are available, it may be a case of old habits and convenience. We’re firm believers in leading by example and as such single-use cutlery has always been banned at 15Hatfields.

Attitudes around disposable items have transformed since 15Hatfields opened in 2008 and legislation is starting to reflect this. If like us you’re keen to accelerate progress, make it easy for suppliers to get on board. We sourced refillable jars to help our partners support 15Hatfields’ no single-use plastic policy. Our local partner Eden Caterers uses this refillable glassware for granola, and so together we’ve avoided the use of plastic pots.

Reducing plastic pollution – which product at 15Hatfields has had the greatest impact?

By serving water in refillable glass bottles, we’ve prevented millions of single-use plastic bottles going to landfill. In 2018, we joined the #OneLess bottle campaign to raise awareness of the impacts of ocean pollution and encourage refill culture in London. #OneLess installed drinking fountains around our city and 15Hatfields became the first venue in central London to register as a public refill station. Investing in an in-house UV filtration and carbonation system has allowed us to serve filtered still and sparkling water minus the single-use plastic.

As a venue, we go through thousands of teabags too. Serving tea temples from Teapigs, which are made with corn starch rather than plastic, really makes a difference.

Tackling plastic waste – what is the biggest obstacle for venues?

The most effective way to reduce plastic pollution is to avoid plastic in the first place. The challenge is when you encounter a product where a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist. The plastic free market is growing, so if you keep an eye out there’s often a more sustainable product on the horizon.

In the meantime, it’s important to ensure used plastic items are successfully recycled and saved from landfill. When we chose Pulse Environmental as our waste management provider, a deciding factor was their zero to landfill policy. The sorting process begins at the venue and this is key to ensuring items can be successfully repurposed. This process involves getting to grips with the types of items which can be processed at your local recycling facility and separating those which cannot.

For those ‘hard-to-recycle’ items, I’d recommend TerraCycle. As the venue of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), food hygiene is taken very seriously and so nitrile gloves are used during catered events. We save used nitrile gloves from the incinerator and landfill through one of TerraCycle’s many recycling programmes.

Promoting sustainable production – how can venues make the most of recycled products?

Furnishing our sustainable venue is a lot of fun. We’re always on the lookout for creative ways we can use recycled materials rather than buying brand new. I think there’s a misconception that upcycled furnishings aren’t as stylish. Guests are always pleasantly surprised when they learn that our cushions and banquette covers are made from end-of-the-line seatbelts. The cushions are bright orange which adds a bit of colour while complementing the natural furnishings around the venue.

Our contemporary reception desk is made from reclaimed medical equipment and plastic packaging – and you’d never guess! In fact, there are furnishings made from recycled plastic throughout 15Hatfields, from the splash boards in our bathrooms to the poseur tables in our breakout spaces.

Sustainability is built into the fabric of our award-winning venue. Visit 15Hatfields’ sustainability hub to learn more about the eradication of single-use plastic and our contributions to the circular economy. For a closer look at achieving zero waste to landfill, read about Amy’s visit to our local recycling facility.