As part of the Future London Plastic Free Project, the Evening Standard is taking the plunge and looking at its own plastic use. Like a lot of businesses we know we go through far too much plastic, but we’re determined to make a change to help save our planet. We can all do something about the plastic problem.

Last month we undertook a plastic audit with help from the team at A Plastic Planet. The audit is the first of five steps as part of the Working Towards Plastic Free Commitment Mark. Our audit found that we used a shocking 5,000 plastic bin liners per month, as well as 13,025kg of polythene bagging for ES magazine every year. Our stationery orders also involve 900 ballpoint pens and 500 plastic pocket folders a year.

We are now working on reducing the number of desk bins and cutting down our stationery orders in an effort to remove as much unnecessary plastic as possible, as well as encouraging staff to reduce their food packaging at lunchtime and use more real cutlery and mugs in the kitchen. This audit is the first step in our work towards adopting the Commitment Mark to go Plastic Free along with other large London companies including the Soho House group and Midtown’s MediaCom.

We are also on the lookout for suitable alternatives to plastic magazine covers and strapping used to bind our newspapers together.

Unlike many newspapers we still staple ours together for health and safety reasons across Transport for London. This means that in order to carry leaflets in our magazine, they have to be bagged up with a visible front cover and back. Although there are some non-plastic alternatives available these are still quite expensive, and paper envelopes are not transparent enough for readers to see inside.

John Gay, ES head of operations, and Samantha Evans, operations and procurement co-ordinator, recorded the audit for the Evening Standard. John said: “We reviewed the use of single-use plastic across our print and distribution operations and head office. Having completed the audit it was surprising to see how much plastic we actually use. As a department reducing our ‘plastic footprint’ is a priority and we are working closely with our suppliers and printers to reduce or source alternatives.”

While there are currently no good replacements for the plastic bagging or sturdy strapping that binds newspaper bundles together, these are key areas that we are focusing on improving in the future.

But it is a tangible start and part of a long programme of plastic reduction.

Henri Allen, head of operations at A Plastic Planet said: “A Plastic Planet is thrilled to be working with the ES. Plastic in our working spaces is almost invisible to us — until we look. And then we see it everywhere. With an impressive distribution, the Evening Standard is part of the capital’s daily non-stop rhythm.

“By stripping out plastic from its operations, sourcing plastic-free alternatives and making bold decisions (do we need a new plastic bin liner every day?) the ES is leading by example and showing other businesses across London and the country a much kinder environmental future.”