A blue box used for beach cleaning from Surfers Against Sewage with a sticker on the side that reads 'Beach Clean Box'

Reducing and recycling plastic

The Met Office is committed to reducing single-use plastic waste and, in December 2018, the Met Office achieved the Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) Plastic Free Champion Award.

Reducing use of plastic

We are working to reduce our plastic usage and our achievements include:

  • Removal of plastic cups and cardboard cups from our vending machines – our staff use their own reusable cups and we also have reusable cups available for sale in our retail outlet.
  • Removal of soft drinks in plastic bottles from our vending and catering outlets and the introduction of a countertop soft drinks dispenser.
  • Once existing stocks are used, moving to non-plastic stationery items such as metal scissors and wooden rulers.
  • Using alternative packaging materials such as packing peanuts made from potato starch.
  • Removed from use tea bags containing plastic.
  • Individual condiment sachets will be phased out and replaced with refillable sauce bottles.
  • Cleaning team use refillable bottles for cleaning products and use washable cloths instead of disposable wipes to clean the surfaces.  

Recycling plastic

At the Met Office head office we have separate streams for different types of waste and separate out our plastic waste for recycling.

Our plastic waste is processed at a local depot. Mixed plastics are separated into a range of grades.

Plastic water bottles (PET bottles) are sent for:

  • shredding;
  • washing;
  • pelletizing; and
  • made into fleeces, carpets, duvet stuffing and pillows.

Plastic milk bottles are:

  • melted into pellets;
  • sterilised; and
  • made into more milk bottles.

All waste streams are weighed so we can monitor our waste.  We have seen a significant reduction in our mixed plastic waste – from ~7,500kg in FY 2015/16 to ~4,500kg in FY2022/23.