Red Funnel reduces plastics, waste and energy consumption

Red Funnel reduces plastics, waste and energy consumption

Isle of Wight-based ferry operator Red Funnel has reduced single-use plastics, increased recycling and improved operational efficiency since launching its three-year environmental strategy in September 2018.

Over the past nine months, Red Funnel has implemented many of the initiatives set out in its ‘Red Goes Green’ strategy, including a carbon offset programme with SUEZ Recycling and Recovery. This means that Red Funnel’s waste now recycles a third of its dry mixed goods – up from just 12% in 2017. Remaining waste is converted into refuse derived fuel and shipped to the Netherlands, where it is used to generate heat and electricity.

Red Funnel has also “significantly reduced” the amount of single-use plastic items used on its ferries by swapping plastic cutlery for wooden cutlery, using more eco-friendly napkins and plates, and replacing condiment sauce sachets with pump bottles and paper cups, and milk sachets with chillers and dispensers. Plus, the brand now uses Vegware products made from recycled, renewable or low-carbon materials, as well as greener packaging.

Other initiatives focused on decreasing air pollution by partnering with the Environment Centre and Southampton’s Clean Air Network. As part of this, it has amplified its campaign to discourage private and commercial customers from idling their vehicle engines while waiting to board or disembark the ferries.

To increase operational efficiency, Red Funnel has installed LED lighting across the fleet and in its onshore facilities, fitted electrical generation machinery on its ro-ro ferries to boost fuel efficiency and reduce emissions by more than 50%. The ferries now use R449A refrigerants, which have zero Ozone Depletion Potential and low Global Warming Potential.

Onshore, Red Funnel has replaced double-glazing at its head office in Southampton and added a new cycle rack to encourage staff to swap cars for bicycles and make greener commuting choices. The brand also pledged £15,000 (US$19,600) to support the removal of plastic and other litter from the Isle of Wight’s coastline. More than 30 members of Red Funnel’s team helped during a clean-up in September 2018 and more will help again this year.

“We’ve already made big strides with our initiatives over the last nine months, but there is much more to be done as part of our three-year plan, from continuing to reduce our total waste and energy consumption, to simply incorporating our green ethos into our day-to-day decision making,” said Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel.

Next on Red Funnel’s agenda is finding an eco-friendly fuel for its ferries.

“Since October 2018, we have been trialling the use of biofuel and while we proved that operationally the fuel can be burned, supply and legislation issues mean that the fuel is not currently viable for us,” said Collins. “We will continue to explore alternative fuel and future developments in propulsion in order to shift our fleet away from traditional fuels.”

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
05 June 2019

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