How to reduce your plastic use at work
You can’t underestimate the impact of single-use plastic. It’s a huge environmental issue that is accelerating climate change and affecting millions of people across the globe.
Many of us first became truly aware of the impact of single-use plastic thanks to Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II episode on plastics (if you haven’t seen this, we’d highly recommend watching it). The heart-breaking footage from the programme has caused many to think about the impact they may be inflicting themselves. So we’ve prepared a quick guide to help you cut out single-use plastics from your working day and to try and stop those little daily single-use plastic habits that will really make a difference!
What are single-use plastics?
Single-use plastics are in everyday items, such as water bottles, straws, coffee cups and food packaging designed to be used once and then disposed of. We take these items for granted, they’re designed to be quick, convenient and easy to use, they hold our shopping and stop our drinks spilling, but these handy uses come at great cost – single-use plastics are very difficult to recycle.
What’s the problem with single-use plastic?
Plastic doesn’t biodegrade (get eaten by bacteria) over time, instead it breaks into tiny pieces called micro-plastics and lasts for thousands of years. These are often digested by wildlife and fish, poisoning them with toxic chemicals. A staggering one truck full of garbage enters the ocean every second, at current rates it’ll be four per second by 2050. If changes aren’t made soon, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.
Plastics floating in the ocean unfortunately kills tens of thousands of turtles, birds and seals every year as they often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish.
How can you reduce plastic use in the office?
Although single-use plastic is a huge problem, it can be tackled by making a few small changes to our daily habits. Stop using takeaway coffee cups and instead get a nice KeepCup or bring your own mug. If you’re a tea drinker, choose the right tea bags – at Uncommon we use Teapigs who use biodegradable and compostable packaging. Make sure you always place bigger orders to avoid unnecessary smaller packages.
Single use water bottles are one of the easiest things to remove from everyday life. Make sure your office has a tap with filter water (Uncommon has got your covered there), and invest in a refillable bottle such as this sustainably farmed bamboo and stainless steel one by WAKEcup – a simple glass jug in the office will work well too!
A lot of plastic waste in offices comes from lunch. Packaging for sandwiches, Poke bowls and sushi are only used once and thrown away. To cut down, try bringing in more lunches from home, it’ll be friendly on your wallet and the environment. We’d recommend trying Beeswax Wraps, you can wrap anything up in them and they’re reusable, so no more plastic boxes or clingfilm.
At Uncommon, we do not offer single-use plastics at our onsite cafes whatsoever, and our kitchenettes are fully equipped with crockery and cutlery – so no need for plastic forks and spoons.
If you’re aiming a little bigger, think about your supply chain and how you can reduce plastic usage across the business. Many organisations receive huge volumes of plastic packaging from suppliers on a daily basis and seeing what your suppliers are doing to reduce their own plastic usage can have a positive ripple effect down the supply chain.
If you have any other ideas of reducing plastic at work – let us know, we’re always open to hear new suggestions!
If you’re interested in learning more about a sustainable lifestyle in the workplace or at home, keep your eyes on our journal for more very soon…