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how to reduce plastic at work
25/07/2019

How to Reduce the Use of Plastic at Work

Take the challenge! How to reduce the use of plastic at work?

Some tips on how your company can become a plastic-free office.

 

Just a few years ago, an island of plastic in some faraway place in the Pacific Ocean would have seemed like a myth. That was until the mainstream and social media echoed the serious consequences that plastic waste is having on our ecosystems, and many of us have come to realize that our lifestyle and consumption habits must change dramatically. Not only must we recycle, but it’s urgent that we reduce and avoid the use of plastic too. Given that we spend such a large amount of time at work, how can we reduce the amount of plastic waste we generate in our offices? Check out these tips that’ll help to establish certain practices in developing a much greener company. Do you dare to take the challenge?

 

Go for plastic-free lunches in the office (and in your life)

The vast majority of plastic waste generated in our offices comes from food. Sometimes we’d rather buy food to take away than prepare at home. However, did you know that a plastic fork doesn’t break down for 600 years, and even then, it’s only into smaller and smaller pieces? So how about opting for those local takeaway places that use cardboard packaging and bamboo utensils? Another alternative to reduce plastic waste in the office is to organize meals in teams. For example, each day instead of cooking, every team member brings along certain ingredients (in reusable containers of course!) so that once in the office, you can prepare your dish as you like. Obviously, in this case the company must be on board to kit out the kitchen so that these types of initiatives are promoted!

 

Change the way you drink water, tea and coffee

Instead of coffee from the machine (which often automatically dispenses plastic cups and plastic stirrers), or coffee in capsules, why not use a filter coffee machine? Or for tea, which often has plastic packaging, try substituting it with bulk tea! And if you’re lucky enough to live in a city where tap water is good to drink, take advantage of this resource. A filter on the tap can add a level of safety too. After all, and here’s another fact: a plastic water bottle remains up to 450 years in the environment. 450 years! Some companies get behind these initiatives by giving takeaway cups and refillable corporate bottles.

 

Recycle more and better

Whether you’re a proactive employee in turning your company into a plastic-free place of work or a manager leading the change, an audit will be necessary. This is a great way of detecting how recycling is understood within the company and what measures you can take to improve. If for instance, you see that the lack of recycling is caused by the absence of recycling bins, this will be the first point to take care of. However, if there already are various containers for plastic, paper and organic waste but recycling is still an issue to be dealt with in your company, then perhaps it’s time for an information day.

 

Recycling isn’t everything, you have to reduce as well. Promote plastic-free days in the office

All this being said, recycling is no longer enough. We have to reduce single-use plastic (and all kinds of it). To motivate your company in its path to zero waste, you can join international initiatives such as Plastic Free July. Or start with a plastic free day a week. To encourage recycling and create a company culture that’s aware of the plastic problem, you can choose to reward employees, teams or departments that are doing really well. The prize, for example, could be a plastic free catering day, plastic free utensils, or even a change in working hours… 🙂

 

How about you, have you taken on the plastic free life? Any ideas you want to share with us? Comment below and together we can work out how to reduce the use of plastic at work (and in life!) Until next time!

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