Norfolk County Council: a case study

Norfolk County Council recognises the damage that single-use products and plastics cause and have taken steps to reduce their use at County Hall and dispose of them responsibly:

  • Step 1 – Audit of single-use products and plastics used at County hall
  • Step 2 – Viable and practicable reuse alternatives identified
  • Step 3 – A new single-use products and plastics policy for procurement and facilities management drawn up and implemented

Norfolk County Council understands that single-use products/plastics cannot be cut out entirely as they are sometimes necessary and can occasionally be environmentally preferable to alternatives. Therefore, the aim was to minimise their use as far as possible at County Hall.

Changes made at County Hall

County Hall Restaurant and Shop

  • Individually wrapped products avoided where possible in the shop and restaurant
  • Snack item sales shifted to use of tongs and paper bags
  • ‘Bring your own lunchbox’ scheme introduced, offering a 10p reduction on takeaway items
  • Reusable cutlery provided in restaurant
  • Returnable china mugs replaced disposable takeaway coffee cups in shop and restaurant
  • Plumbed in mains water cooler and reusable glasses provided
  • Swapped individual sauce sachets for large, refillable dispensers
  • UHT milk cartons replaced by milk jugs


image of a packaging free lunch box with the words Food Savvy Lunch Club Food Savvy Lunch Club

The Food Savvy Lunch Club, a scheme run by the waste team, saw a group of 50 staff volunteers being challenged to eliminate single-use packaging from their lunchboxes.

The Food Savvy Lunch Club ran for four weeks at the end of 2019 and included a lunch time cooking demo and tips for preparing a waste-free lunch.

The initiative was a big success with 88% of volunteers saying they had reduced their single-use packaging at lunch time.

For further information on running a lunch club please visit

Watch more about the Food Savvy project here.

Wider Council changes

image of the Balloon and Lantern poster included council and norfolk recycles logosBalloon and Lantern Charter

Norfolk County Council has banned the release of balloons and sky lanterns on any land or property owned by the County Council.

For further information please click here.


  • Reusable or returnable packaging used where possible
  • The use of single-use packaging minimised by buying in bulk containers or in concentrated form and choosing environmentally-preferable alternatives instead

Cleaning Services

  • Minimised the use of disposable wipes – using cloths and liquids/sprays instead
  • Cleaning products bought in bulk, in concentrated form, with appropriate dosing systems to avoid over-use


  • Recycling facilities provided throughout the building, including food bins
  • All staff  encouraged to minimise the use of paper through presenting information electronically and setting printers to double-sided
  • To have a wider impact Norfolk County Council, working as part of the Norfolk Waste Partnership, increased its focus on lobbying and influencing national policy development around plastics, litter, waste reduction, future targets and the circular economy

If you would like your business to take part in reducing single use products click here to sign up.