Plastic is used in a LOT of businesses all over the UK. From Christmas buffets to buying new office supplies to lunchtime meal deal pasta pots, lots of people use plastic every day. But with sustainability and climate change in the spotlight, many businesses are looking for ways to reduce plastic waste.
For lots of manufacturers and retailers, plastic packaging is the right choice for their products. It’s durable, non-fragile, and even has some eco-credentials - many commercially used plastics are recyclable, and their lightweight nature means a lower carbon footprint for delivery. But more plastic use means more plastic waste - so we need to find ways to safely and responsibly dispose of plastics, or find eco-friendly alternatives.
One of the most effective things you can do to reduce plastic waste at work is to make it easy for your employees to recycle. By positioning recycling bins at common areas (in the kitchen and in each office) you can encourage your staff to recycle their used meal deal pots and other recyclable waste.
Switch To Glass
Another way to reduce plastic waste is to switch your packaging materials from plastic to glass. If you currently use PET or HDPE bottles to package your juices or smoothies, for example, switching to glass juice bottles will inherently reduce the plastic use of your customers, too. Glass is already recognised as one of the most eco-friendly packaging products, and studies have shown that consumers prefer glass packaging, too. So it’s a great option for manufacturers and retail businesses looking to do their bit to reduce plastic waste.
Use Recycled Plastics
More and more plastic manufacturers and suppliers are offering plastic packaging that’s made from recycled plastics. This is great for businesses, because it allows them to continue to use plastics where they need to, while offering them an eco-friendly packaging choice. As a business, you can make your employees aware of this, too, so they can make more informed choices when they’re shopping. Look for RPET (recycled PET) or PCR (post-consumer recycled) badges on products.
Provide Reusable Water Bottles
Offices full of people consuming water in single-use plastic bottles can add up to serious plastic waste. Offer reusable water bottles to your staff so they can stay hydrated while keeping plastic use to a minimum. Alternatively, if your business isn’t in a position to buy these for your staff, it’s easy to encourage staff to bring in their own reusable bottles from home. Lots of coffee shops also offer discounts for people who bring their own reusable coffee cups, so there’s another incentive to go plastic-free!
Scrap Coffee Machine Pods
They may provide a much-needed mid-afternoon caffeine kick, but coffee pods produce a lot of landfill waste. And this is an easy one to solve. Rather than coffee pod machines, invest in communal cafetieres so your staff can still enjoy a high-quality coffee, but without the plastic waste.
There’s a lot businesses can do to reduce plastic waste at work - and it starts with awareness. Reducing plastic waste is something every employee can get involved with - and as business leaders, you can start as small or as big as you like!
More Tips For Reducing Plastic Waste At Work
- Use glass or paper water cups instead of disposable plastic ones
- Replace plastic shopping bags with paper bags for customers
- Swap plastic cutlery for stainless steel in your kitchen area
Looking for more information on eco-friendly packaging? Read more about the PCR10 initiative here, and find out about how it’s making it easy for customers and businesses alike become more eco-friendly.