7 Ways Small Businesses can Eliminate Plastic Waste

If your business is a restaurant consider switching to paper or stainless steel straws! Photo by  Danielle MacInnes  on  Unsplash

If your business is a restaurant consider switching to paper or stainless steel straws! Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Guest Blog Post: Cloe Matheson

It’s more important than ever that businesses make the conscious effort to eliminate their plastic waste.  Large companies aren’t the only ones contributing to the world’s plastic problem – each small business can make a difference when it comes to plastic waste.

Cutting plastic usage from your business isn’t as challenging as many seem to think: you just have to rethink some usual ways of doing things.  Here are seven simple ways your business can eliminate its plastic waste:

Conduct a Waste Audit 

Conducting a waste audit is the first step to reducing plastic waste in your workspace.  A waste audit will give you a better understanding of the types and volume of plastic waste your office is producing.  This data will provide a clear focus for your reduction efforts and help you to determine the most effective course of action.

Photo by  Charles Koh  on  Unsplash

Photo by Charles Koh on Unsplash

Encourage the Use of Reusable Items

Your workspace shouldn’t need to use single-use plastic cups, bags, plates and cutlery.  If you haven’t already, encourage employees to use reusable items – think ceramic mugs, stainless steel water bottles and snack bags.  You could even put an official ban on single-use plastic in your office to ensure employees follow through with this.

Install a Water-Cooler

Single-use plastic bottles account for a vast amount of pollution worldwide.  To eliminate the use of plastic water bottles in your workplace, install a water cooler so that staff can refill their drinking glasses and reusable water-bottles with fresh water throughout the day. Want an even better solution? Consider putting a water filter on your kitchen tap if you have one.

Photo by  Mike Kenneally  on  Unsplash

Reduce Plastic in Office Coffee & Tea

Tea and coffee production create a lot of plastic waste, but you can take simple steps to minimize the waste generated in your workplace.  For example, most tea bags contain plastic.  Enjoy a plastic-free brew of loose-leaf tea, or support tea bag brands that avoid using plastic.  If you’re a coffee lover, find brands that offer coffee-beans in plastic-free packaging, or purchase in bulk. Don’t forget to compost the leftover leaves and coffee grinds!

Ask that Suppliers Use Less Plastic 

Suppliers often use a considerable amount of unnecessary packing when delivering goods to businesses. But you don’t have to let this be the norm in your company. If you are serious about becoming a plastic-free company, write a formal letter to your supplier expressing your concerns.  Find out if they can supply alternative products that eliminate plastic waste.  You could also ask if they can deliver goods with less wrapping and packing.  By speaking up about this, you may even cause a ripple effect of positive change amongst other suppliers and companies.

Encourage Staff to Bring Homemade Lunches

Large amounts of plastic waste often come from staff lunches, such as sandwich packaging and ready-made meals. Having proper food preparation and storage facilities in your office – such as high-quality, eco-friendly ovens, microwave ovens, and refrigerators – will enable staff to bring in food more often, and save them from going out and bringing back lunches wrapped in single-use packaging. Encourage staff to use these facilities as often as possible to reduce the waste generated in your workplace.

Implement Strict Recycling Rules

Even with the best efforts, your company may generate some plastic waste – which is why it’s so important to have strict recycling methods in place.  Ensure all your staff members understand the recycling rules in your office.  You could try sticking up some recycling posters as a simple reminder of the importance of recycling.

Cloe Matheson – Cloe is a freelance writer from Dunedin, New Zealand who is an advocate of a green, healthy lifestyle. She loves writing articles to inspire and motivate her readers, and has penned articles for local companies in New Zealand including the truck company, Fuso. You can check out more of her published work on Tumblr.