The impact of plastic pollution on our environment has reached a critical level. And while there are many small changes you can make as an individual, businesses and large corporations also need to start making changes.
At present, Penzance has become Britain’s first plastic-free town, and 330 towns have pledged to do the same.
1) Reusable coffee cups
Getting the morning or afternoon coffee run can often mean someone running to the local cafe to purchase everyone’s favourite hot beverage.
In fact, it’s seen as a ‘little treat’ in many businesses. Because let’s face it, what comes out the machine from a barista just isn’t the same as spooning in the instant shop bought blend.
But coffee cups are a major contributor to plastic pollution.
In the UK alone, we use 7 million disposable coffee cups every day, with half a million being littered. And the issue doesn’t just stop there. Due to the complicated way in which they’re manufactured, many cannot be recycled.
Therefore, instead of using takeaway cups from the local coffee shop, simply put everyone’s favourite beverage in a reusable cup. Not only will this help you to cut down on single-use plastics, but it might even help you to differentiate between everyone’s drinks!
2) Encourage eat fresh
After lunchtime, you may have noticed just how much waste is created from your team’s food habits.
As many people purchase their lunch while at work, there is a dramatic increase in how much single-use plastic is being thrown-away in just one sitting. From sandwich wrappers to ready-meals, your office is eating its way through plastic covered produce.
In fact, it’s estimated that 1.3 billion black plastic takeaway trays are used in ready meal packaging in the UK every year. But as reported by WRAP, the pigment used in these trays means that the majority of these trays are sent to landfill sites rather than being recycled.
To cut down on this avoidable scenario encourage your team to eat fresh by bringing in their own lunches, or even providing cooking facilities so they can rustle up something tasty.
Providing your employees with fridge space, a place to cook, and even a healthy tuck-shop, can go a long way in reducing the plastic waste created in your office. You could even set-up a Plumbs’ Dairy fresh fruit and veg delivery, so that local, fresh produce is available to them.
3) Invest in reusables
Getting the recommended daily amount of water is essential for your team to feel fully functioning and productive. However, water bottles are one of the biggest plastic pollution culprits.
The demand for plastic bottles is so large it’s estimated that 20,000 plastic bottles are purchased every second. While it’s been recently reported by The Guardian that between 5 million and 13 million tonnes of these plastic bottles end up in the ocean.
With plastic bottles being such a scourge on the environment, it’s essential that we all do our bit to turn off the plastic tap.
As a business, providing a water cooler for your employees, or even branded reusable water bottles, are just a few simple ways you can make a change.
You can even swap your traditional plastic milk bottle, for a glass bottle delivery from Plumbs’, helping you to cut down on over 208 plastic bottles.
4) Get your team onboard
While you may be responsible for the day-to-day running of your business, you can also instigate change in your employees.
Every small change counts, so just imagine the impact you could have as an entire business if your employees reduced their plastic waste as well?
By running a competition to see who can reduce their plastic waste by the most, you can incentivise your team to become environmentally friendly.
5) Improve your recycling
Your office waste is not only made-up of food but of many materials that can be recycled such as plastic, glass, and paper.
As well as attempting to eliminate plastic you should also ensure that your employees are following best practice when it comes to recycling. In a report by EnviroWise, it was found that poorly recycled waste from businesses cost the UK economy £15bn per year.
To begin to reduce your plastic use, think about other materials that you can try to use instead.
Couple this with limiting the amount of bins available to employees in and around the office. It may sound strange, but by making them more conscious of bins and what they’re putting in it, will allow them to see exactly what they’re throwing away.
6) Work with suppliers
For a business, going plastic free is not a quick change, and it will take small steps to begin to turn the tide.
While there are changes that can be implemented immediately from this list, this tip is one that may take time but could prove to be the one that has a significant impact.
If your business sources products or even supplies from another company, discuss ideas on how together you could look at reducing plastic. After all, many items and products are wrapped in plastic and this can amount to a staggering amount of plastic waste, some of which is not able to be recycled.
This could even be a conversation with your cleaner, to ensure they’re using biodegradable bin bags, or with your stationery supplier to find eco-friendly alternatives.
Conduct a plastic audit on your business operations and you may find many avenues that you can begin to make the change.