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Southern Water launches Plastics Policy

Southern Water has launched a plastics policy to help ensure the company, its employees, suppliers and customers reduce plastic waste wherever possible.

Southern Water’s wide-ranging policy, the first of its kind for a water company, includes:

  1. Carrying out an audit of its plastic use and setting targets for reduction

  2. Working with its supply chain on reducing plastics and increasing recycling rates

  3. Cutting out single use plastics in its offices and operations, wherever possible

  4. Helping promote water bottle refill schemes across its region to reduce reliance on single-use plastic bottles

  5. Expanding its Unflushables campaign to highlight the environmental impact of plastic waste

  6. Funding academic studies into the removal and recycling of plastic waste


Southern Water treats more than 700 million litres of wastewater every day, much of which is laden with items such as wet wipes, sanitary products and cotton buds. Last year, the company removed almost 9,000 tons of such material at its sites across the region.

As well as these large items, wastewater also contains plastic microfibres from clothing and tiny particles of plastic – Southern Water is exploring techniques for removing these and finding new ways of recycling and reusing them.

The company is funding academic studies into microplastics with Southampton University. It has also set up an innovation hub with the University of Portsmouth at its Petersfield wastewater treatment works where innovative treatment techniques, including the removal of microplastics, are being explored.

The plastics policy is published on the Southern Water website: www.southernwater.co.uk/PlasticsPolicy.

Posted 26/03/2018 16:17

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