If you have been watching the news lately you may have come across a term that you might not be totally familiar with; single use plastic. It may sound relatively straightforward but its worth repeating that the term “single use plastic” refers to any plastic item that is used once and then discarded. And we know what you are thinking? “I don’t use plastic items once and throw them away, that would be silly!” Well chances are you do, in fact recent statistics show that in the United States alone, 100 billion plastic bags are made and then thrown away every year, and that’s just a fraction of the some 300 million tonnes of plastic waste that is generated on an annual basis.
Aside from the economic waste, the other reality is that this waste is having devastating consequences on the environment and in particular the sea birds that often end up digesting our discarded plastic. Clearly something has to give and recently we’ve seen companies like Ikea pledge to rid its stores of plastic straws by this October and of all single use plastics completely by 2020.
So, what can the average business do to play its part in the battle against single use plastics? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot and in this blog, we’ll outline the three key ways (or rather products) where most businesses can make a positive impact in the fight against single use plastics.
Coffee is pretty much a raw material in most businesses product or service and the copious amounts we drink and buy results in 100 billion single use cups being disposed of every year. The issue with these coffee cups however is less with the actual “cup” which is usually cardboard but more the plastic top.
The solution here is pretty straightforward – re-usable coffee mugs! And in addition to saving the planet the other good news is that many high street coffee chains now offer discounts for customers brining in their own cups. Your staff are going to drink coffee regardless so why not give them a great looking branded mug to do that with and save them some money along the way. Not only will the planet thank you, but everyone likes to save money. Everybody wins!
As above single use water bottles are a big contributor to the single plastic problem and as with coffee mugs businesses can help by providing staff with re-usable alternatives. The other pro to this is perhaps not as obvious – hydration. If you operate an office-based business (or even one that isn’t) hydration is a big challenge for many people. Re-usable water bottles are often larger in volume and can encourage more water drinking, helping concentration levels and keeping the office healthy!
Sometimes using single use plastic is unavoidable. One area where that may be is in the packing of products for delivery. That said there may be alternatives particularly if that packing is bag based where there are many recyclable alternatives now on the market. Its not just bags however, boxes, containers and much more all have recyclable alternatives and at comparable costings to boot.
If you would like advice on how your business could reduce its reliance on single use plastics or about any of the options in this blog, then please do get in touch with us today.