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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Staff at Abu Dhabi veterinary clinic help tackle plastic waste 

The clinic bought reusable containers to replace the mound of single-use plastic that was delivered each day

Staff at the British Veterinary Centre now order their lunch in reusable kits to avoid plastic waste Victor Besa/The National
Staff at the British Veterinary Centre now order their lunch in reusable kits to avoid plastic waste Victor Besa/The National

Norman Laquian and his colleagues were horrified by the pictures of waves of plastic pollution washing up on the shores of Manila Bay over recent months.

Not content to simply look on, he and a group of British Veterinary centre employees decided to do their part in tackling the planet’s problem with plastic.

The centre bought reusable lunch kits for their daily food deliveries to replace the containers used by the Khalidya branch of the restaurant Royal Pinoy.

Each kit consists of three separate plastic containers to hold a main dish, rice and soup.

The reusable lunch kits bought by staff at the British Veterinary Centre. Victor Besa/The National
The reusable lunch kits bought by staff at the British Veterinary Centre. Victor Besa/The National

The idea behind buying in the kits initially came from Jennifer Hale, the centre’s administrative partner, who asked staff if there was anything they could do about the large number of single use plastic containers.

“When Jennifer said we were using a lot of plastic and she wanted to get rid of it, we told the restaurant that in our culture we were comfortable using lunch kits,” said Mr Laquian, a Filipino who is the centre’s medical procurement supervisor.

He approached the restaurant to propose the idea of reusable lunch kits and the staff there agreed.

Ms Hale bought nine kits to cover the seven or so staff members who order from the restaurant each day.

They started using the system at the beginning of the month and it has been running smoothly ever since.

“After we eat, we clean them up and in the evening when I pass the restaurant I drop off the containers,” said Mr Laquian.

“There’s been no need to label the food because we know what we ordered.”

Staff at the practice are hoping the idea catches on.

“We are a veterinary clinic so everyone here is hyper-aware of the environment and animal health and welfare,” said Ms Hale.

“But we thought maybe people would follow our lead. I think it’s a good thing for Abu Dhabi. People could do this here.”