Whitbread has launched its ‘Force for Good’ sustainability programme which it says will eliminate the use of “unnecessary” single-use plastics by the middle of the next decade.

The owner of hotel group Premier Inn says it is working closely with suppliers “to map out all plastic usage and find alternatives to unnecessary single-use items”.

Whitbread classifies “unnecessary single-use” as “plastic which is used instantaneously and is unnecessary for food safety purposes”, with examples including sauce sachets in its restaurants and cafes, and behind-the-scenes plastics used in food and textile packaging.

The group said that where single-use plastics are still deemed necessary – giving the example of in-room portions of milk, their use will be reviewed with the intention of replacing them with recyclable alternatives where possible.

Whitbread said that the “root and branch review” will remove “millions of pieces of unnecessary single use plastic” by 2025.

Last year the company announced a new science-based carbon target, which it said would put it on course “to reduce carbon emissions intensity by 50 per cent by 2025 and as much as 88 per cent by 2050”.

Commenting on the news Premier Inn’s managing director Simon Ewins 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’ve already made huge steps, particularly in terms of consumer-facing plastics – this is just the start.

“In many ways what we’re looking at now with our 2025 commitment is the less visible, less sexy stuff – the hard yards that collectively can make a huge difference. It’s 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 won’t, right down to wrappers on textiles.

“As with any meaningful commitment to change – it won’t happen overnight but we’re 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.co.uk, premierinn.com