Plastic Free Businesses

How do businesses get involved?

Take the pledge to ditch 3 items of plastic!

We’d love to hear what you’re planning to do so let us know what single use plastic items you’ll be ditching on our facebook page.

Where do we begin?

Step 1: Start with an audit

  • Take a look at all the plastic items used by your business and make a list.
  • What single use items of plastic do you use?
  • What have you already got rid of or replaced?

Step 2: Make a list of items you want to target

  • What can you easily stop using or providing to your customers?
  • What plastic items can be replaced with sustainable alternatives?
  • What items will need to be phased out over time?
  • What are the things you have no control over, e.g. suppliers and how they provide and send goods?

Step 3: Start ticking things off on your Action Plan

  • Use the Action Plan provided by PlasticFreeDeal (download a copy here), or create your own.
  • Pick one item at a time, starting with the easiest. You know best what will work for your business!
  • Consider quantities of items you currently have in stock which you’ll want to use up whilst looking for sustainable alternatives.

Step 4: Achieving single use plastic free status

  • Let us know when you’ve successfully achieved your 3 items and one of the Deal With It team will come to see you.
  • All we ask is to see your replacement items, or a copy of an invoice* and you’ll receive your PlasticFreeDeal certificate to display in your business.

*We appreciate it takes time to get through current stocks of plastic items so an invoice as proof of purchase will be accepted.

Download a copy of our BUSINESS ACTION PLAN

Need help in finding sustainable alternatives?

Sustainable alternatives are widely available through many suppliers who can help you cut your use of plastic. We don’t endorse or recommend products or their suppliers but we can give ideas and information to research. Here are some of the manufacturers and suppliers of compostable alternatives that we’ve come across:


Please note, we are not endorsing or recommending any of the above! But you’ll get lots of ideas from looking at their catalogues.

Group purchasing

Want to reduce costs? Can you get a bulk buy scheme going?

You could consider joining forces with fellow businesses to buy together and buy in bulk. We’re talking to a number of Deal businesses about this and will share details as this develops. But if you get a scheme going please let us know and we’ll share the news.

Getting staff buy in

How can you encourage staff to go plastic free while at work? Things you can consider:

  • plastic free lunchboxes
  • a ban on plastic water bottles
  • swapping to milk in glass bottles
  • using pencils instead of biros

When you do your audit you’ll be surprised at how much plastic comes up!

Things to consider

Trial things out, do your research, ask our Plastic Free Deal Champions for advice and talk to your suppliers.

  • Don’t worry if you can’t tackle everything right now or can’t find a solution you’re happy with straight away – this is an ongoing process and the steps you CAN take will still make a big difference!
  • Keep an eye out for the many cardboard food containers and coffee cups that have a plastic lining. There are alternatives!
  • Some food containers and coffee/tea cups are lined with PLA (Polylactic acid), a plastic substitute made from fermented plant starch (usually corn) which is becoming a popular alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics. There are concerns over the length of time required for PLA to biodegrade!
  • It is also worth checking how sustainable alternatives are disposed of. Pick compostable over bio-degradable. But, be aware that many compostable products are not home compostable and need to go to special composting facilities. We do not as yet have such a facility in the area.

So, check what you are buying and its waste journey. Ban single use as much as you can!

What are businesses doing? Some examples…

We have some ideas and suggestions based on what other businesses are doing, both here in Deal and further afield:

  • Stop giving out straws and keep a small stock of paper straws for those who actually need them (e.g. disabilities or mouth problems).
  • Swap plastic takeaway cutlery for wooden cutlery.
  • Swap polystyrene or plastic food trays/boxes for compostable bagasse* or cardboard.
  • Use paper plates or bagasse plates.
  • Swap bubble wrap for collapsible cardboard protective packaging.
  • While you are encouraging the change to coffee refills … you could swap to compostable cups and lids for takeaways – but make sure you check credentials (*)
  • Switch to glass bottles or cans of water. Again widely available through suppliers.
  • Stop providing stirrers and put stainless steel spoons out for customers to use.
  • Stop providing sugar/sweetener sachets and provide a shaker, pot etc.. Could customers add sugar in the shop?
  • Stop providing milk sachets and provide a jug of milk. Again, can customers add milk in the shop?
  • Stop providing single portion condiments and provide glass bottles of sauce or sauce dispensers with cardboard pots.
  • Stop selling biscuits wrapped in plastic. Alternatively sell ‘nude’ biscuits.
  • Ditch single use plastic carrier bags. There are lots of alternatives – you could encourage customers to bring their own, provide paper bags, or even sell a branded jute or cotton bag.
  • Stop selling bottled water and offer a refill service.
  • Encourage coffee refills by selling re-usable cups (you can brand them up!) and offer a discount if people use them.

*Bagasse = made from a mix of natural fibres including reed, bagasse, straw and wood pulp.

What’s in it for you?

  • Recognition of your efforts with a Plastic FreeDeal certificate to display in your business.
  • A listing in our business directory on
  • Publicity through our promotional activities.
  • The potential to save money through reductions in waste, group purchasing and ditching certain items.
  • Increased customer awareness leading to increased customer loyalty.
  • Peace of mind!
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