Where it all started
As official Sustainability & Education partners of the Ocean Sheroes, we were inspired by their record-breaking completion of one of the toughest races on earth, whilst raising awareness of plastic pollution in our seas, to begin our own plastic revolution in the construction industry.
With the construction industry accounting for around 20% of global demand for plastics we realised we had a key role to play in moving towards a more circular economy for plastics and inspiring our supply chain and the wider industry to do the same.
A Plastic Revolution
We started our campaign by investigating the journey plastic takes to and from one of our Woodgate development in West Sussex. Through a daily waste monitoring process over three months, supported by Biffa, we identified that:
- 77% of the volume of plastic waste we disposed of was packaging
- 40% of the plastic products we use also come in plastic packaging
- We produced around 82 cubic meters of plastic waste in those three months
Across a year this would be enough waste to fill the average family car boot over 800 times.
Our Plastic Action Plan
Armed with the insightful results of our research we then worked with Biffa and Planet Mark to develop and publish a Plastic Action Plan,. It highlights to highlight where the industry should remove, improve or keep plastic use and processes to tackle single use plastic, move toward a more circular economy for plastic and minimise the climate impacts of plastic use in construction.
Working with partners and supplier our Plastic Action Plan also included insightful good practice case studies and key messages on plastic use from OnSite Support, Smile Plastics, Biffa, The Ocean Sheroes and Surfers Against Sewage.
Thakeham Plastic Pledge
Innovation can rarely be achieved alone. and With the use of plastic so engrained with the industry we knew we had to work with our supply chain. Using the findings and actions within our report we reached our to suppliers and contractors to encourage them to join us in committing to a series of pledges regarding our combined use of plastic.
Our plastic pledge swiftly received 13 supply chain signatories representing more than £90 millions of combined annual turnover. Committing the signatories to:
- Working with Thakeham and our supply chain to reduce the volume of single use plastic
- Minimizing plastic waste caused by errors or damage
- Offering or take part in takeback schemes for plastic materials, packaging containers or protection where possible
- Offering or using plastics that contain recycled content where possible
- Training our staff on the sustainable use and disposal of plastics
- From 2025 being able to measure our impact on plastic so we can set measurable targets to reduce that impact
With 13 partners on board, we held a series of workshops to discuss combined and individual business action against each of the six points within the plastic pledge.
Ongoing Supply Chain Engagement
With the plastic pledge commitment from our supply chain and our own plastic action plan, the journey towards the responsible use of plastics is well underway.
Nonetheless, we know there is a long way still to go if we want to achieve a circular economy for plastics in the construction industry. Between now and the next Plastic Free July we will continue to work with our supply chain to tackle plastic use, deliver our plastic action plan and help our partners deliver theirs.