Advanced Television

Virgin Media O2 drives down single-use plastic

April 26, 2024

Virgin Media O2 reports it has has removed 65 tonnes of single-use plastic from its operations and products since 2021 – the equivalent weight of five double decker buses.

The company says it is striving to cut waste and single-use plastic from packaging and equipment sent to customers and its engineers to build and maintain its broadband and mobile networks. It forms part of the company’s sustainability strategy, the Better Connections Plan, and its goal to achieve zero waste operations and products by the end of 2025.

Cutting waste

With most recent Government figures showing the UK produced more than 2.5 million tonnes of plastic packaging waste in 2021, Virgin Media O2 works with manufacturers and suppliers at all stages from design to manufacturing and shipping of items, to eliminate waste and single-use plastic from its operations and products.

Since 2021, Virgin Media O2 in partnership with Technetix has removed almost 18 tonnes of single-use plastic from the equipment and tools used by engineers, including cables, batteries, splitters and wall outlets. This includes removing plastic bags, foam, or blister packs from packaging sent with parts, and plastic straps from shipping cartons, and replacing plastic ties with paper ties on cables.

In addition, working with GXO, the company has cut around 48 tonnes of single-use plastic since 2021 – a reduction of 94 per cent, from packaging containing products sent to cable customers such as set-top boxes and routers.

Virgin Media O2 and GXO have also reduced the amount of single-use plastic used in delivery of TV and broadband products between distribution centres, and created plastic-free packaging for customers to return unwanted kit, with the latter preventing around 22 tonnes of single-use plastic each year.  All removed single-use plastic is recycled, reused or repurposed.

Dana Haidan, Chief Sustainability Officer at Virgin Media O2, commented: “As a leading UK business, Virgin Media O2 is committed to minimising its impact on the planet. That’s why we’re always looking at where we can remove waste and single-use plastic from our operations and products, and use materials which can be easily recycled. It’s all part of our sustainability strategy, the Better Connections Plan, and our aim to become a zero-waste business by the end of 2025.”

Anna Burns, Group Operational Excellence Director at Technetix, said: “At Technetix, we prioritise circularity and waste reduction in our products and packaging. While many operators are addressing plastic packaging on customer equipment, there is also a vast array of equipment in the network that requires attention. We are pleased to collaborate closely with Virgin Media O2 on removing single-use plastic at the source from its network and customer equipment. Together, we have introduced new packaging solutions that prevent many tonnes of plastic from entering the supply chain every year, while also simplifying product and waste handling across the company’s operations.”

Meagan Fitzsimmons, GXO’s Chief Compliance and ESG Officer, added: “GXO and Virgin Media O2 are working together to create a supply chain that is as environmentally responsible as it is efficient and reliable. Companies have to reduce single use plastics from their supply chain to meet regulatory requirements and environmental goals. These results show what’s possible with a best in class partnership. Through great collaboration, open thinking, and innovation, we can help to significantly reduce and remove single use plastics from the supply chain. We’re really proud of our partnership with Virgin Media 02 and the work we have done to continuously remove plastic waste from our operation.”

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