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Our policy on plastics

Our policy on plastics sets out what we’re going to do to reduce our use of plastics at Southern Water.

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1. Introduction

Southern Water is committed to protecting the environment and supporting the circular economy. We recognise that waste plastics pose a global threat to the marine environment and to our region generally. Within the context of our Environment Policy we commit to minimising our use of plastics, to reducing the environmental impact of waste plastics and to beating the national target of eliminating avoidable plastic waste before the end of 2042. The Executive Leadership Team is responsible for this policy. All employees share responsibility for its delivery.

March 2018

2. Practices:

  • Measure and audit our use of singleuse plastics and set targets for reduction
  • Develop an assessment of the environmental impact of plastics we buy and use to inform the purchase of goods and services
  • Where the use of plastics is unavoidable, we will use recycled plastics where practicable
  • Where possible, aim to buy only those plastic products that can be easily reused or recycled
  • Seek and encourage innovative recycling opportunities for the plastic waste we and our supply chain partners produce in our buildings, cafés and daily operations
  • Work with our supply chain to develop capability and capacity for recycling plastic waste
  • Maintain housekeeping standards at our sites to prevent the escape of plastic litter
  • Ensure our sites continue to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the environment from our permitted release pipes
  • Work with employees, customers and suppliers to encourage them to take practical steps to reduce the use of plastic and the production of plastic waste
  • Expand our Unflushables campaign to highlight the environmental damage caused by plastic waste, such as wet wipes and cotton buds, in the sewerage system
  • Promote behaviours that reduce reliance on plastics, particularly encouraging the use of tap water over bottled water and the reduction of plastic packaging waste
  • Fund research and pilot projects for removing plastic waste, including plastic microfibres, from the water we abstract from the environment, from the treated wastewater we return to the environment and from the bioresources that we recycle to agricultural land
  • Support and encourage employee and community initiatives to remove plastic waste and litter from the environment
  • Work in partnership with research bodies, universities, suppliers, and other stakeholders to meet these policy objectives