Eliminating Single Use Plastic at Canary Wharf - Making Sustainability Real



The most significant outcome of the World Environment Day 2018 Canary Wharf Group panel debate was the similar challenges that multiple industries face when trying to address the single-use plastic issue. Through structured discussion and open conversations, three stand-out themes surfaced: 

  • We need to simplify communications and create more consistency with regard to what we are asking the public to do

  • People are confused on the issue, and we have a responsibility to educate and increase understanding of ways and reasons to break the plastic habit

  • We can’t create the impact needed unless we collaborate across industries and communities to achieve a strategic and coherent vision for plastics



Canary Wharf is in a unique position to influence our visitors, employees and tenants to spark action and embed a new culture. So how exactly can we do it? 

We will Simplify consumer choices.

Through easier and better recycling options, utilising new technology or completely removing single-use plastics from stores and businesses, we will eliminate the burden and confusion that surrounds single-use plastics.




We will Educate people and industry on what it means to challenge single-use plastic within a Micro City.

Through sharing lessons learned, insight and case studies we will progress the single-use plastic conversation and extend our impact beyond our space. Our communications will ignite a greater understanding of the individual impact and encourage partnerships to accelerate success and the cultural shift we need as a society.




We will Collaborate with industry and technology partners to initiate a circular city, ensuring any materials that are disposed of within the Estate are captured and recovered adding value and creating new markets.

Piloting new technologies and innovations will help identify new scalable opportunities that can be adopted nationwide to reduce single-use plastic.




Although activities will run over 12 months, Breaking The Plastic Habit is not a short-term plan. We want to build a legacy, one that will foster a culture of change and we have therefore committed to gain the Plastic Free Community status, an accreditation run by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), a leading environmental charity. To achieve this, we have incorporated their five key working areas to deliver specific plastic reduction targets within our programme; governance, local business support, community engagement and community events and will be the first commercial centre to do so.

Our progress will be published in a series of case studies that will be shared externally. You can find our latest reports on our Progress page.  


 About Surfers Against Sewage

Surfers Against Sewage is a grassroots movement that has grown into one of the UK’s most active and successful environmental charities.

Founded in 1990 by a group of Cornish surfers, the marine conservation charity works with communities to protect oceans, waves, beaches and marine life. 

Their plastic-free coastlines commitment fights plastic pollution at the source and through regular beach cleans, they galvanise a movement of volunteers to remove the pollution from UK beaches. 

More recently the charity has created the Plastic Free Community accreditation to tackle the issue head-on, from the beach all the way back to the brands that produce them.

Surfers Against Sewage believe it’s not about removing all plastic from our lives, but kicking our addiction to avoidable single-use plastic, and changing the system that produces it. Their Plastic Free Community accreditation shares the same objectives as Breaking The Plastic Habit which is why we’re committed to incorporating their criteria and becoming the first commercial centre to do so. 

Find out more about Surfers Against Sewage.