Mermaid Quay, the waterfront dining and leisure centre in the heart of Cardiff Bay, has been awarded not one but two Green Apple Environment Awards for 2021 by The Green Organisation, a prestigious international, independent, non-profit, non-political, environment group, dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world.

Mermaid Quay has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to reducing its environmental impact over the years, which was recognised with a Bronze Green Apple award in 2020 for the REFILL Mermaid Quay campaign. You can find out more about Mermaid Quay’s other environmental initiatives here.

Now, the centre has won a National Green Champion award for 2021 for the introduction of new uniforms made of recycled plastic bottles for the centre’s 20-strong cleaning and security team.  With each garment recycling at least 15 plastic bottles, the switch has resulted in steering some 1,600 plastic bottles away from landfill.

Mermaid Quay Centre Manager Simon Whiting said:

“Here at Mermaid Quay, in the heart of the Cardiff Bay environment, the entire centre management team is committed to sustainability and playing our part in the global fight against plastics and environmental pollution. Regrettably we see way too much plastic washing up on the shores of the Bay and witnessing the impact it has makes us all the more determined to take action. The new uniforms are just one of a number of initiatives we are taking.”

The new uniforms – from Regatta Professional’s Honestly Made Collection – were introduced in June 2021. Initially there was scepticism from the team about wearing a uniform made from recycled plastic bottles but once the science was explained and the samples had arrived there was a complete change of heart. 

Simon added, “You would never suspect from looking or touching the material that these uniforms were made from recycling plastic bottles, the quality is clear, and they look great on the team. The science behind this initiative is inspiring.”

In addition, Mermaid Quay has been awarded a National Bronze Green Apple Award for its Beyond Recycling sustainable collections partnership with Cardiff Council Trade Waste.

When retendering its recycling collection services, Mermaid Quay was keen to work in partnership with an organisation that had sustainability at heart, and could prepare the centre for the Welsh Government’s business waste regulations, in advance of the new legislation coming into place. As a key location in the food and drink sector, the contribution the centre needed to make in providing segregated, clean recyclable material (in particular food waste) to provide feedstock to a circular economy in Wales was clear.

Partnership with Cardiff Council’s Trade Waste team ensured that Mermaid Quay was able to start achieving its recycling goals despite the global pandemic. In 2020/21, the centre collected 72t of recyclable material, with 26t of this (36%) made up of food waste. The food waste is used to generate energy for homes in Cardiff, and is 6% higher than the percentage of recycling collected in 2018 (when food waste accounted for 30%).

Simon says ‘The relationship between Mermaid Quay and Cardiff City Council has begun exceptionally well and I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for our collaborative efforts once the world returns to normal once again. We share the same goals as Cardiff City Council as we both strive for perfection with regards to environmental best practise. I believe that we are only beginning to scratch the surface of what we can achieve. “