Plastic-Free July: Reducing Plastic Consumption in the Workplace

Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time. Every year, millions of tonnes of plastic waste end up in our oceans, harming marine life and contributing to the rapid degradation of our ecosystems. While reducing one’s plastic consumption is essential to ensuring waste is kept to a minimum, one area which is often overlooked is the reduction of plastic waste in the office environment. As such, WES have compiled our own list of ways in which individual businesses can try to minimize their plastic consumption and promote a near plastic-free environment in the office.

The first step towards reducing plastic consumption in the workplace is to raise awareness among your colleagues. Organise a meeting or a workshop perhaps, to discuss the environmental impact of plastic waste and the importance of minimizing its use – in particular single use plastics. Encourage open discussions, ideas, and personal commitments to creating a plastic-free workplace.

Identify the single-use plastic items that are most used in your office environment and try to seek alternatives. Here are some of WES’ suggestions for items which can be used in place of single-use plastics:

1. Replace plastic water bottles with reusable ones. Encourage employees to bring their own water bottles and provide filtered water stations or water coolers for refilling (remember we have these in both kitchens at WES for you to use whenever!!)

2. Say no to plastic straws. Switch to paper, stainless steel, or bamboo alternatives.

3. Use reusable coffee cups and eliminate disposable coffee cups. Encourage employees to bring their own mugs or use the mugs provided in our kitchens.

4. Replace plastic cutlery with reusable or compostable alternatives like bamboo, wooden, or compostable plant-based options.

5. Avoid individually wrapped snacks. Instead try going for bulk purchasing and provide communal containers for employees to enjoy.

6. Digitize as much as possible to reduce paper waste, which often includes plastic components such as binders and covers. Encourage employees to adopt digital methods for document sharing, note-taking, and communication. Use project management software, cloud storage, and online collaboration tools to minimize paper usage and enhance efficiency.

7. Set up proper recycling bins throughout the office to segregate plastic waste and other recyclable materials. Clearly label the bins to avoid confusion. Educate employees on the correct ways to recycle and the importance of doing so.

8. Consider implementing a composting program for food waste, as it can significantly reduce the amount of organic waste that ends up in landfills. Composting can also be used to nourish office plants or community gardens, creating a sustainable cycle.

9. Encourage employees to make conscious choices when it comes to purchasing office supplies. Choose products with minimal packaging or packaging made from recycled materials. Request suppliers use sustainable packaging options or to reduce excessive plastic wrapping.

10. Plastic waste is not limited to the office alone. Encourage employees to adopt eco-friendly commuting options such as walking, cycling or using public transport. You can also look to providing incentives or perks for those who actively choose sustainable transportation methods.

11. Develop a green mindset within the workplace by organizing eco-friendly initiatives. Implement a “plastic-free challenge” for a month or organize a regular “green team” that works towards reducing the office’s environmental impact. Celebrate achievements and acknowledge individual efforts to motivate employees.

Reducing plastic consumption in the workplace requires collective effort and individual commitment. Even by implementing just one of these practical tips and strategies, employees can significantly reduce their plastic waste and contribute to a cleaner, healthier planet. Remember, every small action counts, and the cumulative impact of these changes can make a significant difference in the fight against plastic pollution.

Let’s work together and follow some of these tips and tricks to strive for a future at WES in which the use of plastic is drastically reduced!