Steps Towards a Plastic-Free Workplace
What changes can you make to create a greener, cleaner office?
Plastic reduction and creating environments with minimal single-use plastics has become an expectation by many governments and certainly by many environmental agencies and bodies. As a company who are committed to eco-friendly practices, we’ve put together this post which advises how you can make changes to your office or workplace, to help bring down plastic usage. Small changes can make a big difference and once you begin to make the change, other practices will follow. Here are a number of small but effective ways of reducing plastic waste in your workplace:
1. Begin with a Waste Audit
The best place to begin when implementing a new practice in your workplace, is with an audit. A full understanding of what you need to throw away and recycle allows you to make the new beginning your hoping for. A rough understanding of the typical types and volumes of waste generated by your office allows you to look at ways of operating differently. If there is a high volume of single-use plastic water bottles in the trash for examples, you can look to provide a better water provisions such as coolers. Emptying the trash and recording the contents is the easiest way to begin seeing where excess plastics are being used and you can also periodically re-audit and check that your changes are being followed.
Employees like a good competition and a great way of getting them engaged and interested in a new scheme is to incentivize it. Maybe make your Waste Audit an opportunity for staff to compete and increase their waste reduction the most. Maybe different departments can be pitted against each other and look for the most effective and inventive ways to bring down their sector’s plastic use. You can share photographs of the changes on noticeboards, run social media groups and campaigns to push each forward and importantly, offer some kind of incentive, even if it’s in the form of reusable coffee cups or other reusable products putting your minimal plastic agenda at the forefront. Teams who make the biggest reductions can receive the biggest prizes and the incentive remains to further push and encourage other teams.
Encourage Homemade Lunches and Reusable Bottles
A large portion of plastic waste in the average office accumulates in the lunchroom. Staff lunches are often bought from nearby convenience stores or packaged in plastic in the canteen and all this additional packaging is often completely unnecessary. If you encourage staff to bring their own packed lunches and reusable bottles and cups, it minimizes the need for any single use packaging in the workplace. If you don’t have a canteen or kitchen providing food, then your lunchroom should at least have facilities to reheat food and make coffee. Good storage and preparation facilities for food will also help ensure employees feel able to bring in their preferred lunch instead of opting for pre-packaged convenience food. You could even provide pointers as to biodegradable, eco-friendly and environmentally conscious lunch products such as reusable sandwich wrappers and bamboo rather than plastic cutlery.
Work with Eco-Friendly Partners
A company which is truly committed to a plastic-free environment will also look to work with environmentally conscious partners. This can be everyone from outsourcing to companies committed to paper free approaches to communications, so no letters or faxes, just emails and also working with companies such as ours, committed to making our services as eco-friendly as possible. Another benefit of working with eco-friendly cleaners is you can ensure they follow your practices in terms of recycling and that correct trash usage and protocol is followed. What’s more, working with a company like this also helps to guarantee you have a partner who is committed to other green practices such as minimizing the use of chemicals and other potentially damaging products.
Make Recycling the Norm
Recycling should be the norm in the modern workplace, but it isn’t always the case. If you have properly labelled and organized recycling facilities available, employees will begin to use them as standard without even thinking about it. Once it becomes the norm then your movement towards a greener, plastic-free environments is almost complete, you just need to remember to keep tabs on the changes and ensure the idea becomes a company-wide ethos, rather than a short-term fad.