Canary Wharf accorded “Plastic Free Communities” status by marine conservation charity

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On World Environment Day, Wednesday 5 June 2019, Canary Wharf Group was awarded Plastic Free Communities Approved status by marine conservation charity Surfers against Sewage, in recognition of its work to reduce single-use plastic at Canary Wharf.

Canary Wharf is the first district in London to achieve this status and is the world’s first Plastic Free Commercial Centre to be recognised by Surfers against Sewage.

In June 2018, Canary Wharf Group launched its “Breaking The Plastic Habit” programme to remove single-use plastic from the Estate. Highlights include:

  • Over 1.2 million items of avoidable single-use plastic have been eliminated
  • Over 4 million coffee cups have been recycled. If you stand these cups side by side they would stretch from London to Durham
  • Removal of over 1 million plastic straws with 83 retailers on the Estate removing plastic straws entirely
  • Over 100,000 water bottles have been reused across seven water refill stations
  • Over 19,000 bottles recycled using the UK’s first deposit Return Vending machine, rewarding users for recycling their plastic bottles
  • A new Sea Bin positioned in middle dock collects 30kg of plastic a month from the waterways at Canary Wharf

To reduce its plastic footprint and secure this accreditation, Canary Wharf Group says it committed to achieve targets across five key areas set out by Surfers Against Sewage. These elements included taking action with businesses and retailers to remove single use plastic, forging links with local communities and schools, and holding events to raise awareness.

The group also piloted the HELPFUL app, designed to help anyone at Canary Wharf to correctly recycle their waste, make the switch to reusable products to avoid single-use plastic and earn rewards at the same time.

Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage: “I’m delighted that Canary Wharf has achieved our Plastic Free Communities status, working to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics. This is the world’s first commercial centre to achieve our status, demonstrating their leadership, commitment and on-going journey to reduce the use of avoidable single-use plastics across the Estate. London is an ocean city, with the tidal Thames running through its heart, and Surfers Against Sewage is delighted to see ocean activism taking hold within such a globally renowned business centre overlooking this iconic river. Tackling plastic pollution is vital from source to sea and business leadership will help us all reinvent our relationship with plastic.”

Sir George Iacobescu, Chairman and Chief Executive, Canary Wharf Group, says: “Canary Wharf’s Breaking The Plastic Habit programme is part of our long term commitment to deliver a future that’s truly sustainable at Canary Wharf. Our programme is designed to act as a blueprint for behavioural change and prompt wider action towards a single-use plastic-free future. It is our hope that this forms part of Canary Wharf’s legacy for a sustainable city in which we transform our community and spark a wider, long-term change for the better; not just for now but for future generations.”

Canary Wharf is one of the largest of the UK wide communities to achieve the Plastic Free Communities Approved status; Canary Wharf Group is now looking forward to working with other organisations at Canary Wharf to build on this initial groundwork and to work towards fully freeing its community from single-use plastics.

For more details on Canary Wharf’s Group’s Breaking The Plastic Habit programme, please visit www.breakingtheplastichabit.co.uk/