Plastic pollution is a worldwide problem that we must all work towards addressing if we want a greener world for future generations. Individuals and business owners alike have a responsibility to make the right choices when it comes to recycling and reducing carbon emissions. Business owners in particular have the resources to help reduce plastic pollution on a larger scale and there are many ways that they can make a difference – starting in the workplace.
Here, renewable energy company Green Energy outline five easy ways for businesses to cut down on single use plastics.
Provide recycling bins
Recycling bins aren’t just for the home – workplaces have a duty to provide easily accessible recycling bins for staff. This means that your staff can easily recycle their takeaway boxes at lunch time (provided there isn’t too much grease on them) and cardboard from parcels. Recycling packaging has such a positive impact on the environment, it decreases the need to use raw materials that save energy. For instance, it takes 75% less energy to make a plastic bottle from recycled plastic compared to raw materials.
Keep a stock of shopping bags
Since the plastic carrier bag charge was introduced in England, positively, plastic bag sales in the ‘big seven’ supermarkets is down 86% since the 5p charge was introduced.
One of the most effective ways of reducing plastic waste is by taking your own bags when you are going to a supermarket – but we’re all guilty of forgetting to bring our bags for life from time to time. Keeping stock of a few bags for life in the office means that staff can reuse them on their lunch breaks to ensure they don’t buy any more plastic bags.
Stock up on fruit
Stocking up on weekly fruit for staff to enjoy is a great way to keep everyone in your office health – just make sure that you grab the loose fruit, rather than the packaged versions. Choose lightweight, reusable produce bags instead of the plastic bags that are usually provided. Be sure to look for ones made from recycled plastic or repurposed netting fabric.
Swap out plastic cutlery
Swapping cutlery to reusable items in the canteen or staff kitchen is another way your workplace can go plastic-free. Plastic cutlery comes in a close second in terms of plastic pollution impact. It’s estimated that 269,000 tons of plastic cutlery contribute to plastic pollution. Despite studies revealing that we use plastic cutlery for just three minutes before throwing it away. Many people are unaware if cutlery can be recycled, which leaves much of the plastic in landfills or incinerated.
Offer reusable water bottles for staff
Providing your staff with reusable water bottles can help reduce plastic use both in and out of work. Employees are less likely to go out and buy bottled water on their lunch break if they have their own reusable bottle which they can fill up at work – and it will also help keep you and your staff hydrated and focused!