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How the Coronavirus has affected the Zero Waste movement

From plastic bag charges to the promotion of reusable coffee cups, these were the steps included in the action plan for the UK public to be less wasteful. That was until 2020 hit the entire world with an unexpected health crisis, the Coronavirus.

At the beginning of March 2020, Starbucks made the decision to temporarily pause the use of personal cups or tumblers in their stores across the UK, as a precaution to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Many cafes and restaurants have made the switch to takeaway and delivery services, which too comes with its effects on the environment too. With food which would usually be served on a plate, now in takeaway packaging, and food waste rising due to unpredictable ordering patterns making it easy to prepare more food than is needed leading to an increase in food waste.

If you use an online grocery delivery service from supermarkets, you may have also noticed the plastic bag charge has been temporarily suspended by the Government and is expected to end on 21st September 2020. According to the Government, the change will speed up deliveries and reduce the risk of contamination. People have also taken it upon themselves to stop using their reusable shopping bags in stores, and start using the single-use plastic bags which they can then dispose of once they have finished with them. Indeed many delivery companies like Ocado have suspended their carrier bag takeback schemes.

For many Governments and Organisations across the world containing the virus is currently a greater priority than environmental concerns. But, no one truly knows how long these temporary changes will need to last. Can the zero waste movement survive the Coronavirus?

 

   

Flame UK Coronavirus Business Continuity Statement

Situated within a key working industry, our priority is to ensure all our customers continue to receive a high-quality service with minimal disruption, and to take practical measures to keep our employees, customers and the wider community safe. We are closely monitoring the potential impact of COVID-19 on our business operations and supply chains.  We continue to monitor advice issued by the UK Government via Public Health England (“PHE”), the Department of Health and Social Care (“DHSC”) and the current recommendations from the World Health Organisation (“WHO”).

Currently the impact on day to day operations is increasing, we continue to operate business as usual but with the following additional precautions and planning in place:

  • We have provided information to all employees in relation to hygiene and the importance of regular and thorough hand washing and use of hand sanitisers. Hand sanitisers have been distributed throughout the business and are readily accessible throughout our building. Advice from PHE has been circulated to all employees regarding good hygiene and precautions to take should you develop the symptoms.
  • Additionally, we are monitoring and recording employee travel plans with anyone returning from Category 1 high risk areas being advised to self-isolate and contact NHS services for further advice. Those returning from Category 2 areas are advised to self-isolate in the event they develop symptoms and contact NHS services.  This advice will be updated in line with government guidance.
  • We are ensuring employees work from home until further advice is issued by the government and the current restrictions are lifted.
  • Non-essential travel and meetings will be postponed or carried out remotely (skype etc).
  • Drivers will no longer obtain signatures via pda, to reduce person to person contact. Signed tickets may not be available during this time.
  • As part of the UK’S key workers amid the Covid 19 crisis, we are working closely with our partners and are doing everything we can to ensure that your Recycling and Waste Collections will continue as normal. We will endeavour to update you as soon as possible if there are any changes and ask that if your business is effected by the Governments closure advice, please do let us know. We will also continue to support Keyworkers nationally, with any additional requirements that may arise during this period.

The evolving situation is being closely monitored on an ongoing basis here at Flame UK and we will implement and distribute the appropriate advice and protocols recommended by the UK Government where applicable.  This includes amending our Continuity Plan on an ongoing basis to reflect the business needs and those of our customers should the impact become more severe.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or require further details.

Thank you for your help and cooperation at this time.

Pam Knight

Managing Director