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Reducing the use of plastic in the workplace

Reducing the use of plastic in the workplace

Reducing the use of plastic in the workplace

Did you know that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean? Or that the equivalent of a truck load of rubbish is dumped into the sea every minute?

The war on plastic has intensified, with major brands getting behind the cause, such as LADbible with its hard-hitting ‘Trash Isles’ campaign. Plastic straws are frowned upon and supermarkets are introducing paper bags and reducing food packaging, but we have a long way to go.

We spend most of our time at work so it’s important to think about how we can reduce plastic in the office – it’s an issue that’s important to us at Aztec, so we’ve compiled this handy list of small changes we can all make in the office to help to reduce our reliance on plastic:

Complete a waste audit

Do you know how much plastic passes through your office? How much you purchase? How much employees bring in with them? Complete an audit to understand how much plastic is used regularly within your office, whether it is recycled and where changes can be made.

Look at your recycling practices – is there anything more you can do and are people taking it seriously? Make it as easy as possible – invest in good quality recycling bins, make sure they aren’t left overflowing and are accessible throughout the office. Peer pressure can be very effective so make sure the bins are in a visible position!

Remove personal waste bins

It’s a controversial move, but think about removing bins from under people’s desks – they’ll be much more likely to recycle properly.

Make it official

Initiatives are always more successful when someone has been given responsibility. Ask for volunteers or appoint someone who is particularly passionate about environmental issues. Ask for regular updates and make sure the door is always open for that person to discuss any concerns or issues.

And don’t forget to celebrate success – make it known that it’s an ingrained value, intrinsic to the business and not a tick box exercise. Set targets and review them regularly.

Review procurement processes

Make the most of your influence, lead by example and don’t miss the opportunity to encourage other businesses to reduce their own impact on the environment.

Review your procurement process and where possible work with businesses with the same ethos and values. Engage with your supply chain and make changes where necessary.

Install water coolers

Remove the need for single-use plastic bottles and make sure enough water coolers are available around the office. Don’t allow plastic cups, but instead make sure enough glasses are available and encourage people to bring their own refillable bottles.

Review your office supplies.

Ink cartridges don’t need to be single use – buy refillable ones.

Ban disposable cutlery and make it as easy as possible for employees to bring their own lunch – make sure kitchen facilities are available to reduce reliance on ‘grab and go’ lunches packaged in single-use plastic.

Stop using plastic milk bottles in favour of glass bottles that can be returned and recycled.

Encourage flexible working

Allowing staff to work from home for part of the week will both reduce your company’s plastic use as well as your carbon footprint – however, it’s important to avoid simply shifting the issue, so do everything you can to encourage the transfer of good habits from office to home.

90 per cent of the plastic items in our daily lives are used once and discarded – with a united effort, both at home and in the office, we can make a difference and work towards eliminating our reliance on plastic.

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