Catering Sundries Framework

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Keywords: catering disposables and reusable catering equipment

Commissioned by: Scotland Exel

Contact: Available in pdf document above


Scotland Excel manage a £2bn portfolio of over 70 collaborative contracts on behalf of the Scottish Government. Frameworks are two stage procurement approaches that initially select suppliers of commonly procured goods, services or works who have signed up to pre-agreed terms and conditions. Frameworks ensure that members achieve best value from procurement through their combined spending power.

Scotland Excel were assisted in developing their Catering Sundries renewal framework which supports Scottish councils to source a range of products. The framework provides both catering disposables and reusable catering equipment. This contract is worth £16 million, over four years (initial 2-year framework from August 2020 with extension option up to July 2024).

The framework developer approached Zero Waste Scotland in December 2019 through ProCirc, looking for information on how to prepare framework users for the forthcoming Single Use Plastics Directive, in terms of future materials with market restrictions or a ban.

From 12 August 2022, a ban on the following single-use plastic items came into force, unless an exemption applies:


Figure 1 Single use plastics ban -

The guidance helps food producers and hospitality businesses to assess what meaningful action can be taken, with a focus not just on plastic, but all single-use items. The priority should be to reduce all single-use items, regardless of the material.



Figure 2: Single use plastics hierarchy -

Zero Waste Scotland subsequently attended a Catering Sundries User Intelligence Group meeting with council members took place in April 2022 regarding the changes to single use plastic and plastic tax which came into effect in the coming weeks.

Procurement Process

The procurement process followed the stages of the Scottish Government’s Procurement Journey. Sustainable Procurement Tools such as Life Cycle Impact Mapping and the Sustainability Test were used to capture and assess risks and opportunities in terms of environmental impact.

Market Engagement

Zero Waste Scotland staff worked with the framework developer to create a slide pack of information for local authority users of the framework.

This included introduction to the Single Use Plastics Directive, best practice hierarchy of options to reduce/eliminate Single Use Plastics and support uptake of reusable alternatives, and considerations around use and disposal of biodegradable options on the market. These materials were used to create a briefing note on forthcoming requirements to inform the User Intelligence Group.

Method statement

Zero Waste Scotland and contractor Sustainable Procurement Limited provided input into suggested wording for a specific method statement relating to plastics and preparation for recycling disposables, as part of compliance with the Single Use Plastics Directive (8 items to be eliminated by December 2020 and 19 to be further investigated in 2021). The supplier product list for the relevant Lots was also reviewed, advising on which items would be eliminated/investigated when the Directive was implemented, and making suggestions around adding more reusable items such as cups to non-core items.

Method statement 2 – Plastics (4 points) 

Technical Response template

This response should detail how the Tenderer proposes to work with the changes in regulations regarding the UK Plastic Pact to eliminate 8 plastics (and the investigation of 19 further items) 

  • How will your organisation adapt to the new plastic regulations with 8 products being eliminated and 19 being investigated?  In relation to this, include in your answer how you will meet the timelines set down by the EU, UK and Scottish Governments?  (2 point)
  • How you will deal with any further changes to the regulations during the lifetime of the framework (2 point)

Table 1 Extract of wording used in Method Statement

Supplier Responses

Scotland Excel provided anonymised supplier responses to the 2 questions.

The majority of responses set out their intentions to reduce the amount of single use packaging materials used, reduce the variety of materials used, make sure that these options have a high content of recycled material in their manufacture and are 100% recyclable.


  • The framework has been developed to include recyclable and compostable items. The framework supports the legislation regarding the removal of single use plastic.
  • Suppliers are committed to becoming Zero Landfill Companies.
  • All suppliers utilise packaging that can be easily recycled[1].
  • Suppliers are also committed to providing Community Benefits.
  • The first full year of management information (post lockdown) will be available in due course. This will include the use of SUPDs pre and post-lockdown.

Challenges and Lessons Learned  

  • The number of single use plastics procured by councils through Lot 1 (disposables) significantly increased between March 2020-June 2021, between lockdowns, as a result of changes in the provision of school meals during the Covid-19 pandemic.
    Implementation of social distancing and enhanced hygiene meant that pupils ate pre-cooked cold foods in take-away disposable containers. Social distancing and canteen staffing requirements eased in the Summer 2021 school term, with hot food service resuming across a number of local authority areas.
  • It is envisaged that schools will move away from reliance on takeaway lunch bags and use of reusable crockery and cutlery will resume.
  • A full year of data is required post pandemic restrictions to capture any changes in procurement practices to eliminate SUPDs and increased uptake of reusable catering items. It is also recognised that the full impact of the new regulations may not be seen until 2023.