Going plastic-free in the workplace is a simple and impactful way to do your part to protect our planet — you might even start a trend at the office
The world as we know it is going to continue to get much worse until we realize the necessity to protect our natural environment. Fauna and vegetation are suffering greatly because of people’s ignorance and bad habits — and one of the biggest culprits is plastic.
Sadly, throwing plastic in waters, in the mountains and on the street is a common occurrence. As a result, it is estimated that there over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Fortunately, people are finally starting to wake up and realize that left unchecked, this act of ignorance is going to destroy our planet.
In addition to converting your home to a plastic-free zone, going plastic-free at the office is becoming a popular trend as more and more workers are taking a ‘no plastic’ stance. Take Adidas as an example. When you enter their office, you cannot ignore the huge “plastic-free” sign at the front of their door. The Adidas company perceives sustainability as a responsibility to protect the environment and provide a good example. They have three important objectives: creating sustainability awareness, developing a sustainability-oriented work culture, and providing sustainability guidelines and tools in their office.
According to Mark Gog, Founder & CEO at MyAssignment: “The biggest difference comes in mentality. After interviewing over 100 plastic-free organizations and over 50 ‘careless’ companies, I came to the conclusion that sustainability is a choice made by the leadership hierarchies, a choice that begins with intensive planning and solution-seeking. As a matter of fact, one of the most common problems that companies face is the lack of proper ‘know-how’.”
Whether you’re an employee or an employer, you can influence your company’s culture by encouraging your coworkers to acknowledge and understand the enormous issues that plastic waste represents.
Here are some tangible ways to encourage a plastic-free mentality in your workplace:
- Conduct wasting audits regularly — Track down and analyze all the waste is constantly thrown out in the office, and then figure out solutions to reduce the quantity of waste.
- Run competitions — Reward your staff and employees the moment they start committing to a sustainable plastic-free routine.
- Provide facilities that allow employees to store, reheat, and cook food — You can (and should) encourage your employees to bring homemade lunches so they’ll stop purchasing food delivered in single-use bags.
- Install a water cooler — Provide personalized drinking glasses nearby to discourage the use of any type of plastic bottle or cup.
- Organize a cleaning movement — Help your team see the gravity of the problem on their own by arranging a team-oriented cleaning project (e.g., cleanup an extremely dirty shore, forest, or river). Not only will this help people embrace their environmental responsibility, but you’ll also encourage a deeper bond between employees.
In addition to the above actions, here are 5 essential tools to help create a plastic-free workplace:
1. Reusable Drink Bottles
A reusable drink bottle is a smart alternative to the common plastic bottles. Every time you go to the store and buy a new plastic bottle, the environment is eventually going to pay the price. If you hold that thought in your head, you’ll no longer indulge in this toxic habit and consider one of the many reusable (and affordable) drink bottles on the market.
2. Reusable Mugs
A reusable mug might sound weird because most mugs aren’t necessarily all plastic. Nevertheless, a reusable mug is different because it is often made of stainless steel and contains a brushing kit that makes it easy to clean. If you give reusable mugs as gifts to colleagues, you’ll hit two birds with one stone.
3. Reusable Shopping Bags
Worldwide, it is estimated that shoppers are using over 500 billion single-use plastic bags. To stop this bad habit, every time you go shopping before, during, or after work, bring a reusable bag instead of a plastic one. At work, let that reusable bag be in everyone’s sight. You can also gift reusable bags to your colleagues or employees to encourage them to follow your good example.
3. Reusable Cutlery
If you’re the type of manager or employee who likes to eat in your own office, consider using reusable cutlery. Even though carrying a fork, spoon, and knife in your backpack all the time might seem like a time-consuming hassle, it’s going to be worth it — even little changes make a big difference.
5. Reusable Lunch Bags
Reusable lunch bags are definitely a popular trend and for good reason. Think about all the wasted plastic used by fast foods containers that immediately get thrown away once consumed. There are so many reusable lunch bag options; it’s only a matter of choice!
Let us not allow our ignorance to cause more harm than it already does. Go plastic-free!
You may also enjoy reading about Clean2Antarctica: Exploring the circular economy from waste to resource by Kristen Noel