Founded in 1694, the Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom. The Bank’s mission is to promote the good of the people of the United Kingdom by maintaining monetary and financial stability. The Bank of England is a diverse organisation, made up of over 4000 people. In addition to its iconic building on Threadneedle Street, the Bank also has premises at Debden where banknotes are printed and at 20 Moorgate. The Bank’s on-site catering facilities include coffee bars at all three of these sites.
The Bank is committed to reducing the environmental impacts of its operations, and has an internal environmental programme in place led by its Energy & Environmental manager. More than 98% of the Bank’s waste — equivalent to over 1,100 tonnes — is diverted from landfill and either recycled or used to produce power at an award-winning ‘Energy from Waste’ facility. The Bank has also been a gold winner in the Clean City Awards for a number of years running, and achieved Platinum in 2016.
Strategy and execution
When it comes to waste management, the Bank has adopted the well-known reduce, re-use, recycle mantra. As part of its environmental efforts, in 2016 the Bank started to review greener options for the different disposable containers used within its catering facilities, with an initial focus on disposable cups.
The Bank worked closely with Elior, its catering contractor, to come up with a practical but effective solution to paper cups waste. In line with the waste hierarchy, the Bank was keen to tackle waste at source and embrace re-use solutions. The Bank is thus focusing its efforts on reducing unnecessary paper cups waste altogether, by encouraging the use of china mugs and reusable cups by Bank colleagues.
An effective internal communications campaign was conducted to drive uptake. One aspect was educating colleagues about paper cups not being recyclable in a standard paper mill due to their inner plastic coating. Fortunately at the same time the wider media took an interest in the subject which helped drive awareness. In addition to communications, a 10p discount for ordering hot drinks in a re-usable cup was put in place. The discount effectively passed on the caterer’s savings of not purchasing a paper cup and lid back to colleagues, which meant the scheme is financially self-sustaining.
The Bank worked with KeepCups to produce Bank branded re-usable cups for sale at its premises. This proved very popular with colleagues, with over 400 KeepCups bought in the first two weeks of the launch of the scheme. Since then, colleagues have purchased a total of over 1000 KeepCups, each one being reused again and again.
In the short space of 8 weeks, the level of drinks consumed at the Bank using re-usable cups reached 22%, and at April 2017 is now over 40%. Over a year this means about 300,000 paper cups will be avoided, cutting unnecessary waste and associated resources. The Bank is now driving further uptake, as part of a comprehensive strategy on reducing disposable catering items.