Can a company break the plastic habit?

Canary Wharf Group is a London based property company who has implemented a programme to remove single-use plastics across the Canary Wharf estate as part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability.

The plastic problem

Every corner of the Earth is now polluted with plastic – the damage caused by it represents one of the greatest sustainability challenges of our time. Wherever the plastic ends up from landfill to the ocean floor, the critical issue is how it got there in the first place. Until we tackle our use of unnecessary plastic and our throwaway culture, the problems we face will never truly disappear.

Breaking the plastic habit

Launched on World Environment Day, ‘Breaking The Plastic Habit’ is a 12-month programme designed to remove single-use plastics across the Canary Wharf Estate. The programme has been created to pilot new technologies, spark innovation and collaboration, and encourage behavioural change as a model for businesses nationwide.

Canary Wharf Group was the first to install England’s first Reverse Vending Machine in one of its shopping malls in Canada Place which allows shoppers to recycle their used single-use plastic bottles and cans. There are also now seven new water refill stations installed across Canary Wharf’s shopping malls.


Canary Wharf Group’s #3weeks campaign focused on reducing plastic straw use across the estate. Tenants were encouraged to not use plastic straws for three weeks – the amount of time it takes to break a habit. The campaign was a significant success with 83% of restaurants, bars, and cafes on the estate supporting the campaign. Social media played a crucial role in its success, with the public encouraged to send in their #3weeks strawless selfies.

A plastic-free community

Canary Wharf has also committed to becoming the world’s first commercial centre to be accredited with ‘Plastic Free Community’ status, in partnership with Surfers Against Sewage.

This story shows how the Canary Wharf Group supports Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, specifically Target 12.5: “By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.”

About Canary Wharf Group

Canary Wharf Group has overseen the largest urban regeneration project ever undertaken in Europe, designing and building more than 16.5m of London real estate, which now houses leading local and international companies, and renowned retailers.

Learn more about Canary Wharf Group.

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