By Gemma Ing

The world has finally woken up to the effect that plastic has on the planet, with the debate around reducing its usage a trending topic worldwide. Every person is accountable for the effect their actions and consumption has on the environment, which is why now is as good a time as ever to start changing for the better.

So, whether you run a tiny startup or a big enterprise, it’s time to show your customers and employees that you are serious about helping to fight the war on plastic, starting with these easy to implement tips.

No More Single Use Plastic Bottles/Cups in the Office

With 1 million plastic bottles being bought every single minute worldwide, and only 9% of them recycled, it is not surprising that plastic bottles are responsible for one-third of the plastic pollution in the sea, which is having a seriously bad effect on marine life. According to experts, if we continue at this level, then by 2050, the amount of plastic in the sea will be greater than the fish which live there, which is certainly a scary thought.

The best thing you can do within your company to help tackle the problem is to impose a company-wide ban on single use plastic bottles or cups within the office. Instead, provide your employees with free, cold, filtered water from water refill points (without the throw-away plastic cups to the side) and actively encourage them to take advantage of them by supplying branded company bottles which can be endlessly refilled. Not only are they relatively inexpensive to purchase, but employees will like them and you’re helping the environment too – it’s a win all-round!

Think About the Products You Purchase

There are many ways you can help to reduce your plastic consumption, simply by reusing or buying recycled plastic products. Most companies will get through a large amount of printer cartridges each month and many of these will not be recycled properly, ending up in landfills. Re-manufactured ink cartridges are a solution to this problem, since they use recycled plastic casings. Moreover, re-manufactured ink cartridges are less expensive than new cartridges, saving you between 10-50%.

You should also try to avoid coffee machines which use plastic pods, as most of these go in the landfill if not recycled. You can, however, purchase almost anything from recycled plastic these days, including pens, coasters and mouse mats, while office furniture itself can be ordered in wooden materials, too.

Take Part in Eco-Friendly Activities

Another great way to help is to sponsor an environmental charity or host a team building event such as a beach clean-up or litter picking activity. Employees will be incentivized to take part as it is a break from their normal working day and they can feel good about themselves afterwards. You could also further motivate them by including a prize for the person who picks up the most plastic bottles, for example a free day off work or a small cash bonus.

Activities like this demonstrate strong Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which is also great for building your brand and gaining positive PR for the business, so be sure to promote the events on your blog and social media!

Ditch the Plastic Straws

Plastic straws take over 200 years on average to decompose, after which they form tiny toxic particles. They are also the fifth most common form of waste found on coastlines, demonstrating the breadth of the problem. As such, many retailers and restaurants have been making the promise to go plastic-straw-free in order to reduce the waste they create.

Your business can follow suit by refusing to use and buy plastic straws in the office. You can go one step further by pledging to only host company events at venues and premises which have made the important switch to paper straws.

Leading the Way

Reducing your businesses’ use of plastics will not only help the environment, but it’ll also help you position your brand as a leader in positive, eco-friendly policies, which is fantastic for PR. So what are you waiting for? Make that important switch today!