NorthLink Ferries waves goodbye to 210,000 disposable plastics

Monday 29th April 2019

Ferry service takes the lead on reducing waste

NorthLink Ferries has cut approximately 210,000 disposable plastic items from its services.

Plastic items – including glasses, cups, lids, teaspoons and portion pots – have either been removed or replaced with sustainable alternatives. Ethical beverage supplier Ethyco now supplies 100% compostable single-use cups and lids across NorthLink Ferries’ food and drink outlets.

NorthLink has cut 210,000 disposable plastic items

Ceramic catering pots have also replaced plastic pots and reusable polycarbonate beakers have replaced wax-lined disposable drinking cups. The replacement beakers have led to approximately 87,000 disposable cups and 28,000 plastic lids being removed from the waste stream per annum.

Reusable ‘Thermos’ mugs supplied by the lifeline ferry operator have replaced polystyrene cups used in crew areas, with an annual reduction of 140,000 cups from landfill.

More than 5,000 polystyrene food trays used in children’s meal packages have been replaced by a plant-based and 100% compostable alternative.

The company, operated by Serco, is now compliant with the ‘zero to landfill’ commitment for commercial general waste set for 2021 by the Scottish Government.

Seumas Campbell, Serco’s Customer Service Director for NorthLink Ferries, said: “Looking after the natural environment is such an important part of the service we provide. So we are passionate about minimising our impact on the world around us. The steps we have taken to remove single-use plastics are very positive and we will keep looking for more opportunities to reduce our environmental footprint.”

One Stop Waste Solutions, an Aberdeen-based recycling and waste services company, has seconded that NorthLink Ferries has already met the criteria for the 2021 ban on general commercial waste sent to landfill.

Craig Donoghue, Managing Director of the organisation added: “We have been working closely with NorthLink Ferries since 2012 and in that time have seen a sustained effort to recycle and reduce waste. In particular, this commitment has peaked since 2017 coinciding with ‘the Attenborough effect’. The company’s ongoing commitment will continue to lead the way in the journey towards zero waste.”

All figures are approximate and based on the volumes of products ordered in 2017 that were not ordered in 2018 as they were either withdrawn or replaced with more sustainable options:

  • 27,500 portion pots
  • 21,000 wrapped plastic glasses
  • 46,000 ripple cups
  • 12,000 ripple cup lids
  • 22,000 plastic cups
  • 34,000 plastic tumblers

For more information on NorthLink Ferries, visit the website: