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Caerphilly County Borough Council took up the plastics challenge and saw great results!

First published:
13 February 2020
Last updated:

The Commercial team at Caerphilly County Borough Council decided to improve how the organisation used plastics to reduce their carbon footprint and to save money. They worked with the Value Wales team who arranged for third party experts and Welsh Government colleagues to agree a plan which would reduce their use of plastics and realise the Councils potential to make significant change.

They analysed their corporate supply chains to identify potential areas for development and brought their suppliers in to discuss what would be feasible and what the impact would be for them.

Once they had agreed the priority areas, commercial and catering officials from the Council met with Value Wales officials, Welsh Government catering service staff and experts from Eunomia, (who were appointed by WRAP Cymru to support the project).

Together they identified what they thought could be achievable and came up with an implementation and communications plan. This ensured that wellbeing objectives and ways of working were central to their work and helped to take stakeholders on the journey with them. They also worked with third parties such as City2Sea to help with their water refill scheme, and gained plastic-free accreditation from Surfers Against Sewage.

Rhys James from the council’s procurement team said:

“Working with the Welsh Government and their partners helped us to focus on the issues that were really the problem with the project and come up with several easy solutions to make a big impact. Without the help of the team we may have ended up working on something that would have cost us a lot more money but had no real environmental gain. To have the expertise available was invaluable and made a vast difference to the outcome of the project.”

As a result of the plan and the stakeholder engagement the council has changed its supply chain activity and made several changes to its catering products in collaboration with suppliers. These changes have helped to make it and the local area more sustainable:

  • removing plastic cutlery from offices
  • increasing the use of reusable mugs
  • replacing plastic bags with paper bags
  • eradicating cling film from corporate catering
  • accreditation of main office as plastic-free
  • adding a refillable water network tot corporate sites and across the local authority, with local businesses signed up as members
  • establishing a school recycling scheme

All changes were subject to a cost benefit analysis and supplier impact before implementation. They raised awareness internally by appointing elected members as champions and advertising the work under the banner of the Plastics Challenge. This helped staff change their own behaviours as consumers and become more environmentally aware. Whilst this work represents a longer term change project with broad environmental benefits, Council officials are currently quantifying the projected cost savings associated with the actions they have taken to date.

Further information

Contact Value Wales: