How to reduce plastic waste in your office.
Updated: May 26
It seems like less than a decade ago just a few brands were advocating for corporate environmentalism and green politics in their workplace. Now, almost every company feels accountable for following a self-regulating business model with environment-oriented practices that benefit both the planet and its employees. Since my last piece of writing was dedicated to plastic household items that can easily be replaced with environmentally friendly alternatives, here’s how to reduce plastic usage in your office:
APPLY 5 R’S TO YOUR BUSINESS WASTE MANAGEMENT – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle. This is a very well-known and effective practice used to reduce the amount of plastic waste your business generates. All the steps are directly linked with each other and eventually tend to create a loop of actions that later become employees’ habits. You can find the essential tips here or even hire a smart recycling representative to establish the waste management program that suits your office the most.
TEACH HOW TO RECYCLE. Of course, eliminating all single-use plastic or actually, any kind of plastic would be perfect, but it’s also very difficult and takes time to adapt. Instead, start with putting recycling bins around the office and most importantly educate your employees about HOW to recycle (recycling standards vary from state to state) and what exactly should be put in the bins (e.g. all plastic containers are recommended to get cleaned from any food leftovers or even traces, otherwise, it goes to waste). Put the accurate guidance next to every trash bin.
ENCOURAGE STAFF TO BRING HOMEMADE LUNCH. If you ever worked in the office, you know what all take-out lunches have in common – single-use plastic packaging. Empower behavioral change by making sure your workplace kitchen is suitable for dining. Your employees should feel comfortable getting their food reheated or even cooking at work. Create a zone that provides your team with microwaves or ovens, a refrigerator, enough space with comfortable furniture, but mostly – invest in glass or metal utensils, cutlery, and plates, so no plastic alternatives are seen in the canteen area.
THINK ABOUT BEVERAGES. Both tea and coffee packaging produces a great sum of unnecessary plastic waste daily. First of all, get your freshly roasted coffee beans in either plastic-free packaging or tins. If you have a Nespresso machine, research about all kinds of reusable stainless steel coffee pods that you can use instead (one of them is WayCup). Secondly, encourage to use leaf tea in the office by purchasing loose-leaf teakettles for everyone to use. If your office is too big, buy plastic-free teabags (to everyone’s surprised, most of the brands do use plastic even packaging tea) such as Teapigs or Pukka.
PROMOTE FREE CLEAN WATER. Help your employees to ditch disposable plastic bottles and add multiple refill stations around the office. Institute a BYORB policy (Bring Your Own Reusable Bottle) by removing any single-use glasses or cups. This will save the planet and your wallet! Also, the modern water stations, such as Bevi, make your sparkling or still water flavoured. So far, only this brand has saved the planet from over 200 million bottles. A smarter and greener way to hydrate!
START USING B2P PENS. B2P pens (Bottle to pen) is your office must-have and an eco-friendly substitute to any plastic ballpoint pens. Bottle to pen invention is officially the success of the recycling industry – all pens are manufactured with 89% post-consumer plastic, all you have to do is to change ink refills and later recycle empty pens, giving them another life.
Some corporations have already banned single-use plastic from their offices (e.g. Adidas), proudly putting no plastic bottles, no plastic bags, no plastic cups, no plastic food container posters at the entrance. While this might sound extreme to someone who just started, it’s still important to promote an anti-plastic office culture step by step. Going green in the office isn’t as costly as it usually seems.