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Take Homes from the #OneLess Summit

On Thursday 21 November 2019, MIW’s Managing Director, Mike Winter, attended the #OneLess leaders’ summit with other pioneer network members. The idea for the day was to give company leaders, entrepreneurs and specialists involved in the #OneLess Project chance to both discuss the various issues related to sustainability and plastic pollution. And to review  and reflect the work achieved by the organisation so far.

These are the main take homes from the day.

What the #OneLess has achieved so far

  • Since the launch of the #OneLess Project in late 2017, half a million single-use plastic water bottles have been removed from points of sale by pioneer network members.
  • Between them, the 82 members of the #OneLess pioneer network, have eliminated more than 3.1 million single-use plastic water bottles.
  • Thanks to the activity of the #OneLess pioneers, almost 250 new drinking fountains have been installed in businesses, providing more than half a million bottle refills so far.
  • The businesses have also removed over 4 million of single-use PET plastic items, including cups, lids, and straws.

In just over two years, this is no small achievement. But rather than patting ourselves on the collective back and celebrating a good job well done, the summit has inspired us on to further action.

What has MIW brought to #OneLess?

As part of the summit, #OneLess held a case study exhibition showcasing the actions taken by ten diverse #OneLess pioneer network members, all seeking to reduce their plastic use. We’re proud to say that MIW featured prominently.

Here’s what we’ve contributed to the plastic-free movement so far.

  • In the first five months of 2019. MIW installed upwards of 400 drinking fountains in businesses and organisations across the country. The company has already supplied more than 7,000 units overall.
  • MIW worked in partnership with #OneLess and the Mayor of London to install the capital’s first network of 28 drinking fountains in 2018. These bottle fillers are refilling an average of around 26,000 bottles every month.
  • MIW is currently engaged in an ongoing project with Thames Water and the Mayor of London to install a further 100 drinking fountains across London.
  • In 2019, MIW stopped selling single-use plastic cups, and offered a PLA (Polylactic acid) replacement. With an average of 60 boxes of 2,000 cups sold every week, over 6 million plastic cups a year have been prevented from becoming an environmental hazard.
  • MIW has tailored its catalogue – and designed its own bespoke bottle fillers – in response to customer feedback and demands, thus increasing the number of organisations willing to install more sustainable drinking solutions.
  • The MIW team have also taken steps in house, returning to glass bottled milk in the staff kitchen and plastic-free consumables throughout. Practising what they are preaching, as is only right.

Final thoughts

When you’re involved in a project like this, it can be difficult to track changes and success. You become so enmeshed in the process that you don’t really give yourself credit. Attending the #OneLess summit gave us the chance to take stock, see what we’re doing well, and to take inspiration from other network pioneers.

Overall, it was a valuable and thought-provoking day. And we were so excited to be part of both this event and this organisation.

Plastic waste is an environmental crisis that is urgent, global, visible and harmful. But, most importantly, it is also solvable. MIW is passionate about being part of the solution. And proud to be offering tangible, effective solutions in our water dispensers. But we’d love it, really love it, if more organisations joined the movement too. Because together we can make change happen.

There’s a lovely quote by the author Robert Dinsdale: ‘A movement can only succeed when what is revolutionary becomes that which is ordinary and accepted.’

I think that must be the case with plastic pollution and the refill movement. So, why not make a difference? Sign your business or organisation up to the #OneLess Pioneer Network today.