How you can reduce single-use plastic in your business

As a nation, we’re more aware than ever of the impact of plastics on our planet. As a business, you can do your bit to minimise the amount of single-use plastic in your workplace by following these eco-friendly suggestions.

Packaging

If you manufacture or distribute products, what can you do about your own use of plastic in your packaging? With more and more people now reducing the amount of plastic they buy, it makes sense for your business to ensure you’re the eco-friendly choice by switching plastics for more sustainable packaging. If you’re an online retailer, you might find these suggestions helpful in reducing the plastic you use in your packaging materials.

Water coolers

Water coolers provide cold water in large plastic drums, but these are reused each time and alleviate the need for staff to bring in plastic bottles of water. Rather than single-use plastic cups, you could provide glasses for employees to use, or ask them to bring their own reusable water bottles to fill up (you could even treat them to one with company branding).

Catering supplies

Take a look in the office kitchen or canteen. Disposable single-use plastic crockery, cups, knives and forks are a big no-no and easily replaced with proper cutlery and crockery. We’ve all seen the images showing the damage plastic straws can do; paper straws are a great alternative and even McDonald’s is now making this swap.

Food packaging is another area you can look into, and choosing companies that forego plastic packaging in favour of sustainable materials will make a difference to your business’s plastic waste. What’s more, single-serving plastic sachets of ketchup or mayonnaise can be replaced by full-size glass bottles kept in the fridge.

Tea

Teabags are a less obvious culprit. You might not have realised it, but there’s a small amount of plastic in every paper teabag, meaning that they’re not fully compostable. Switch to buying tea for your employees from plastic-free brands, such as Devonshire Tea or TeaPigs.

Stationery

How sustainable is your stationery cupboard? If it’s full of single-use pens, it could be improved. Switching to refillable pens is another easy way you can reduce disposable plastic in your office; they may cost more upfront, but they’ll save money in the long-run as well as being better for the environment.

Workplace recycling

When there’s no choice but to use plastic, make sure you recycle it when it’s finished with. From plastic milk cartons to takeaway cartons, plenty of your office waste can be recycled. Invest in some recycling bins and make sure staff know what can be recycled.

The great thing about taking steps to reduce your plastic usage is that it’s not just good for the planet; leading the way in reducing plastic in your workplace is a way to show that your business has a strong moral compass, something employees and customers alike will admire. For lots more advice on reducing your personal and business use of plastic, take a look at Less Plastic.