In this day and age, it is hard to ignore the inescapable fact that our planet is being pushed to its breaking point by human activity. From melting ice caps and burning rainforest, to air full of harmful emissions and oceans full of micro-plastics; one thing is clear – we urgently need to start taking better care of our planet. In recent months especially, there has been a surge in environmental activism across the globe raising awareness of bad practices that are so detrimental to our environment.
One of the main targets of these protests is our relentless and pervasive use of plastic. From the packaging of our food and the contents of our bathroom cabinets, to the phones and cards we carry around with us every day, we are entirely dependent upon this frustratingly versatile and useful material. More often than not, the plastic items that we buy and hastily throw away will end up sitting in landfill or in polluting our oceans for thousands of years to come. As international and national regulations have started to trickle down the pipeline in an attempt to tackle this epidemic, including a wide-reaching EU ban on single use plastics (including cotton buds and drinking straws), it’s got us thinking about the things you can do at ground level to reduce your environmental impact.
If you’re keen to do your bit as a business, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the environmental damage your company causes. As well as the moral incentive, there are plenty of immediate benefits for businesses who try to be more environmentally responsible. From tax reliefs and special schemes, to a greener image that customers love, there are all sorts of reasons to get more serious about “doing your bit” as a business.
In this blog, we wanted to offer a little bit of advice on how to reduce your office’s plastic waste, therefore improving your carbon footprint, as well as doing your bit to help our environment.
1. Reducing Waste Bins, Replace them with Recycling Bins
Dependant on your cleaning rota, you may wish to reduce the number of waste bins in your office. In many cases, bin bags with just a few items in the bottom are removed and replaced with a new plastic bin liner every day. Fewer bins mean fuller bins and therefore less use of non-recyclable bin liners! If your bin is emptied every day, consider talking to your cleaning company about reducing the rate of emptying (within reason!)
In addition to reducing the number of waste bins, it would also serve to make recycling bins readily available and accessible so it’s easier to dispose of waste in the right way. This could mean that more waste is recycled and less makes its way into the ocean or landfill.
2. Providing Reusable Gifts
In order to effectively reduce your office’s plastic waste, you need to make sure every single person is on board and willing to change lifelong habits – it’s no small task! Asking employees to reduce their use of plastic is one thing, but asking them to purchase often expensive reusable items to do so is another. Depending on resources available, provide your staff with reusable everyday items, such as coffee cups, water bottles and lunch boxes, and it will be an enormous incentive for them to make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of plastic that they waste. In addition to this, if everyone has the same starting point and is making the change together, the new habit is more likely to stick.
If providing everyone with the resources to be more sustainable is a little unfeasible in your situation, small changes, such as providing glasses next to the water cooler as opposed to plastic cups, will make a big difference to the amount of waste produced.
3. Reduce Office Supplies
If you’re sitting in your office right now, look around and look at the amount of plastic supplies that facilitate your job. Pens, staplers, hole punches, scissors… the list goes on. In fact, many work spaces are inundated with these plastic supplies. Is there a need to have hundreds of pens in the supply room, only for them to become unusable after the ink dries up? Should every employee have their own stapler or hole punch? So much of an offices waste is generated from its plastic supplies, and it is very easily avoidable.
Making sure only the bare minimum is ordered, and encouraging staff to share their resources will make a large dent in the output of plastic waste. Included in this list of plastic supplies is the use of single-use plastics. Whilst many offices provide fully-equipped kitchens, others provide plastic cutlery or bottles of plastic water instead of investing reusable alternatives. Don’t be that office. Make sure you invest in reusable and quality utensils and supplies that will not need to be replaced regularly.
Focus Cleaning Manchester
Here at Focus Cleaning, we operate in workplaces of all shapes and sizes every single day. We see the amount of waste, especially plastic waste that is produced, and therefore we also see where there is easy room for improvement. Understanding how to reduce plastic waste in the office is not a time-consuming task. All it requires is forward-thinking, planning and small changes because collectively, the small changes can really make a difference in the long run. Get in touch today for advice on how to improve your office’s environmental impact.