10 Smart Ways for Businesses to Reduce Their Plastic Waste
Companies use tons of plastic through packaging or corporate events. This material often ends up in landfills taking a long time to break down. In fact, plastic straws can take up to 200 years to decompose. Plastic releases methane gas that pollutes the environment. Here are some ways to reduce your company’s plastic consumption.
1. Reduce Your Plastic Bag Usage
Some cities, such as Boston, have bans on single-use plastic bags. Other places charge a fee to purchase them at grocery stores. Some countries, like Africa, have gone as far as banning all plastics. So, hop aboard this trend.
Suppose you’re a retail store. Offer reusable bags at checkout or discounts for people who bring their own. You can also package material in cardboard boxes that can be recycled. Bring your own bag to the store if you buy food for a company event.
2. Invest in a Coffee Machine Instead of K-cups
K-cups may be more convenient but are bad for the environment. They are single-serving and made from plastic. Your employees will quickly fill up the trash with them and the cups aren’t recyclable.
Eliminate these in your break room and stick to a standard espresso machine. You could also bring along a coffee machine for corporate events. Suppose you have more space in the budget; invest in a smart espresso device. These have advanced features you can control through your phone.
3. Use Paper Straws
Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day that end up in landfills. Eliminate plastic straws in your break room or offer alternatives, like paper straws. Also, limit the use of plastic straws at annual corporate meetings.
Along with plastic straws, replace small plastic cups with compostable paper ones. If you work in the food industry, reduce plastic straws within take out orders.
4. Advice, Your Staff, to Bring Lunches From Home
Most ready-to-go meals come with a lot of plastic packaging. Encourage employees to pack themselves lunch, such as a sandwich. This reduces their reliance on fast food and breakroom snacks. Have a microwave and refrigerator available to make lunch more convenient. In addition, offer fresh fruit options. This reduces plastic use and encourages healthy eating.
Suppose you work in the restaurant business. Offer eco-friendly start alternatives for dine-in and take-out. Work with your supplies and vendors to also encourage them to make a change.
5. Provide Reusable Materials When Going Out to Lunch
Single-use food packaging is one of the biggest sources of plastic pollution. When having client lunches offer employees reusable take-out containers. You can place these in the kitchen for quick access.
Suppose you take your co-workers out to lunch. Bring a reusable container along with you. Have some reusable silverware on hand as well. Consider buying a company dishwasher for a quicker clean.
6. Remove Plastic Bottles and Vending Machines
Most people use plastic water bottles throughout the day. These are a convenient option but can harm the environment. Water bottles can enter oceans harming marine life.
Replace plastic bottles with more eco-friendly alternatives, such as recyclable cans. Consider removing your vending machines and providing healthier snacks like granola bars.
7. Work With Eco-Friendly Vendors
Buy products from suppliers and manufacturers that use minimal packaging. Also, buy in bulk and concentrated amounts whenever you can. Cleaning supplies for the office is an easy thing to purchase in bulk.
Look for companies that use less individual packaging and recyclable materials. Asking your suppliers about these options, encourages them to make more impactful changes.
8. Stock up on Reusable Pens
Americans throw away 1.6 billion disposable pens every year. You may use pens to write notes, reminders or keep track of essential orders. Instead of throwing away old pens, buy reusable ones. Offer workers high-quality pens that can be refilled.
Don’t reorder writing utensils until you fully use them all-especially if you’re a tech company. Also, look into a TerraCycle Zero Waste Box to encourage eco-friendly practices.
9. Add Refillable Containers for Soap and Other Toiletries
Most office spaces have bathrooms available. The toiletries often come in plastic containers and packaging that aren’t reusable. Replace these with refillable containers and recyclable material, such as aluminum.
Use it as a chance to enhance your space with glass bottles. Suppose you own a retail or food store. Place refillable containers in customer bathrooms.
10. Know How to Read Recycling Symbols
Some people may simply not recycle because they don’t understand the symbols. They can seem confusing at first. Use picture-based and color-coordinated signage to help encourage positive recycling habits. The Recycle Across America organization created society-wide standardized labels for bins. To learn more, research your local laws and contact your trash hauler.
Here are a few of the different symbols to pay attention to:
- PETE or PET: You can recycle items like soda, juice and water bottles.
- HDPE: The symbol is for milk cartons, cleaning and personal hygiene bottles.
- PVC or V: This means you can throw away clear food packaging, siding and windows.
- LDPE: This symbol is for shopping bags and squeezable bottles.
- PP: This includes supplies such as toys, syrup bottles, medicine bottles.
How Your Business Can Become More Eco-Friendly
Reducing our plastic use can lower our carbon footprint and pretext wildlife. Companies often use plastic through manufacturing and office supplies. Consider these ways to reduce your plastic consumption and save the planet.