Hotel operator pledges to scrap use of ‘unnecessary’ plastic

Dec 02, 2019

PREMIER INN – PLASTIC FREE Pictured: Premier Inn staff with plastic wrapped uniforms Pictures by Adam Fradgley For further details contact: Roz Golds Corporate Communications Manager Premier Inn & Restaurants 07803 400895 or

LEADING hospitality operator Whitbread has announced an industry-leading ambition to eliminate the use of unnecessary single-use plastics by 2025.

Whitbread, which operates hundreds of restaurants in addition to the UK’s biggest hotel company Premier Inn, is carrying out a root and branch review of plastic and packaging across its supply chain.  

It will work closely with its suppliers to forensically map out plastic usage and find alternatives to unnecessary single-use items.

The plan will mean the removal of hundreds of millions of pieces of unnecessary single-use plastic, including instantly recognisable consumer-facing products, such as sauce sachets but crucially, also behind-the-scenes plastics such as food and textile packaging. 

Whitbread, whose headquarters are in Dunstable, has a well-established track-record of minimising the use of single-use. Last year it became one of the first to ditch the use of plastic straws and stirrers while its Premier Inn hotels have never used miniature shower products.

The company defines ‘unnecessary single use plastics’ as  all plastic which is used instantaneously and is unnecessary for food safety purposes or plastic whose removal will not create increased waste or carbon emissions.

Plastics to be eliminated include items such as packaging, sauce sachets and nappy bags. Those still deemed necessary, such as in-room single portions of milk, will be reviewed in order to be reduced, replaced with recyclable alternatives or made from recycled plastic where possible.

Premier Inn managing director Simon Ewins is clear on the scale of the challenge ahead but believes it to be necessary as for the good of the business, its guests and the environment.

Simon Ewins, managing director of Premier Inns

He said: “Whitbread has a long history of minimising the unnecessary use of single-use plastics.  Premier Inn has never used miniature bath and shower products and we were one of the first businesses to eliminate plastic straws and stirrers so we have already made huge steps, particularly in terms of consumer-facing plastics.

“This is just the start.”

Whitbread’s 2025 commitment focuses on “the less visible, less sexy stuff – the hard yards that collectively can make a huge difference.,” he added. “It is about forensically examining our supply chain and eliminating the use of unnecessary single-use plastics wherever we can, from the products consumers will notice, to those behind-the-scenes that they will not, right down to wrappers on textiles. 

“As with any meaningful commitment to change, it will not happen overnight but we are unwavering in our belief that eliminating unnecessary single-use plastics is absolutely the right thing to do for our business, our guests and the environment.”

Whitbread’s industry-leading plastic ambition is part of its Force For Food Sustainability programme. Achievements under Force For Good include:

  • The announcement of an industry-leading science-based carbon target of 50% reduction in carbon emissions intensity by 2025; 
  • A training and development scheme which has seen the completion of over 3,000 apprenticeships; 
  • More than £15 million raised for Great Ormond Street Hospital since 2012.
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