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Ten Ways to Cut Down on Plastic in the Workplace

Ten Ways to Cut Down on Plastic in the Workplace

Cutting down on plastics in the workplace is another way to go green and help the environment. Start using the five Rs and you should soon see a great deal less waste.

The five Rs are:

* Reduce
* Reuse
* Recycle
* Refuse plastic
* Raise awareness

Becoming conscious of your own consumer habits can help you cut back, and you can get more creative when it comes to reusing and recycling. Refuse plastic such as plastic shopping bags or straws, and you can not only cut back on your own usage, you can also tell others about your choices to raise awareness in the workplace.

1. Get a Water Filter

Get a water filter for the tap so people don’t feel the need to use individual water bottles. Failing that, get a large water cooler. The large plastic bottles will always go back to be recycled.

2. Assess the Trash in the Office

Suggest to the office manager that they assess what is being thrown away by the company. If everything is getting mixed up (paper, plastic and so on), centrally locate bins for each type of recycling. Have them talk with your trash carting service to make sure the recycling is being handled properly and that you are all using the right kinds of trash bags.

3. Skip the Disposable Cutlery

Use dishes, mugs, and stainless steel utensils instead of plastic or coffee cups.

4. Skip the One-Cup Drinks Machines

The one-cup drinks machines such as Keurig use small plastic pods, leading to a mountain of office waste. There are refillable pods but many are plastic, and the hot water can make the chemicals in the plastic leach into your hot drink. Use a traditional coffee maker with a reusable stainless steel filter, or loose tea and an infuser, to cut down on plastic and paper waste.

5. Keep Paper Straws on Hand

A half billion plastic straws end up littering the planet every day in the US alone. If people really do need a straw, offer them paper ones.

6. Invest in a SodaStream

Many people enjoy soft drinks a couple of times a day. Make your own soda such as seltzer or cola using this reusable system.

7. Give All Employees a Refillable Stainless Steel Water Bottle and a Travel Mug

Many companies customize basic items like stainless steel water bottles and reusable travel mugs. They will charge a reasonable fee per item, and a fee to put your company name, logo and so on onto the items. They are a great perk for the staff, and extras can be used as prizes and gifts.

8. Switch to Paper Bags or Reusable Ones

If you sell items and your customers will be carrying their shopping off the premises with them, use paper bags or reusable cloth ones with your name and information on them.

9. Consider Using a Printer with Refillable Cartridges

Certain printers really drink ink. And with four cartridges per machine for the four colors required, this can add up to a significant amount of plastic waste. Recycle the cartridges through Staples or similar programs. Consider buying ink kits that will allow you to refill the ink.

10. Go Green with Your Shipping

If you have to send out a lot of mail, make sure the contents of your package are packed well with non-plastic materials.

Use these tips to cut down on plastics in the office. If you are not senior enough to implement the strategies yourself, try approaching your manager either individually or as a group.

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Nine Ways to Cut Down on Plastic in the Home

Nine Ways to Cut Down on Plastic in the Home

If you’re concerned about green issues in your household, you’ve probably heard just how bad plastics can be for your health and for the environment. If you want to live cleaner and greener, here are some ways to cut down on plastic in your home.

1. Be Clear about Your Local Recycling Program

At present, there are seven different categories of recyclable plastic. If plastic is recyclable, you should see the recycle symbol stamped on it, and a number inside the symbol. The number will tell you the type of plastic it is. Not every recycling plant can handle all seven types of waste, so be vigilant about what you are putting out so it does not end up in the landfill. If it can’t be recycled, see if you can use it for other purposes around the home.

2. Say No to Straws

More than half a billion straws are ending up in the trash every day in the US alone. Reusable options you can buy and carry with you include paper, bamboo, stainless steel, and glass.

3. Invest in Your Own Coffee-Making Equipment

Vast mountains of plastic-coated coffee cups and lids end up in landfills every day. Skip the expensive habit and make it yourself at home using a traditional coffee machine and a reusable stainless steel filter. Buy a travel mug to take your hot drinks with you anywhere. Compost the coffee grounds and use them in your garden or potted plants.

4. Invest in a Water Filter and Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Mountains of small plastic water bottles now litter the planet and as the quality of our water gets worse, the number of bottles continues to grow. Consider investing in a Brita pitcher to filter your water, or a filter that attaches to the tap in your kitchen. Carry fresh water everywhere you go in a durable stainless steel water bottle.

5. Say No to Plastic Wrap

One of the main issues with plastic wrap and plastic bottles, in addition to what they do to the environment, is the problem of harmful chemicals from the plastic leaching into your food and drink. This is even more likely if you heat your food in a plastic container.

You can keep food fresh and protect yourself from plastic by wrapping your food in waxed paper first, not plastic wrap. If you then want to preserve it further, put it in a plastic container. Or consider investing in glass food storage container sets with lids.

6. Bring Reusable Containers to Your Takeaway

If you are treating yourself to a takeaway, consider bringing reusable glass containers with lids to carry your food home. Most places will use Styrofoam otherwise, which is not commonly recycled.

7. Buy Cleaning Product Refills

Many cleaning products now offer a small vial of their active cleaning solution which you can then place in your reusable spray bottle and dilute in order to use it safely. This will save on bottles and on gas being used to lug heavy bottles back and forth.

8. Invest in a SodaStream

If your family can’t live without soda, just think how many bottles and cans you could avoid putting in the trash if you were to make it yourself with a SodaStream reusable bottle system.

9. Use a Razor with Replaceable Blades Instead of a Disposable Razor

Or use an electric one – either way you will reduce plastic waste.

Follow these simple tips to cut down on plastic use in your home. Your health and the environment will both benefit.

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11 Ways to Cut Down on Plastic When Food Shopping

11 Ways to Cut Down on Plastic When Food Shopping

Food shopping is one of the most common trouble spots when it comes to plastic waste piling up and ruining the environment. Here are some easy ways to cut down on plastic when food shopping.

1. Steer Clear of Plastic Shopping Bags

These are extremely dangerous to land and marine animals. Depending on what they are made of, they can take more than a thousand years to break down. Use reusable shopping bags for all your purchases.

2. Buy in Bulk

Buy staples in bulk such as cereal, pasta, and rice. The food is cheaper and you are cutting down on packaging.

3. Cook Your Own Beans and Soups from Scratch

Most tinned food items have a plastic coating inside and out, which can leach into your food. Many canned goods are also very high in salt (sodium), which is used as a cheap preservative but can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Buy your beans in bulk and boil them up for your various recipes. Add fresh fruits and vegetables to make your own soups.

4. Buy Concentrated Juice

You will find small tubes in the freezer aisle. Defrost, dilute, and pour into a glass bottle or jug rather than buy plastic containers of juice every week.

5. Steer Clear of Frozen Meals

These tend to have a lot of packaging. In particular, watch out for TV dinners. If you must use them, check the plastic tray for the recycle symbol and the number inside the symbol. Then check with you local sanitation to see which types of plastic, numbered 1 to 7, they are able to recycle. If they can’t accept them, think of ways you can reuse them yourself and make these TV dinners a rare treat only – not something you eat every day.

6. Buy from the Deli Counter, Not from the Refrigerator

If you love ham, bologna and so on, buy from the deli counter to avoid the plastic that pre-packaged cold cuts usually come in.

7. Bring Reusable Packaging to the Deli Counter

This will also help you cut down on the plastic package they usually use for cheese, cold cuts, and so on.

8. Buy Fresh Bread from a Bakery

Don’t buy your bread wrapped in plastic. Buy a fresh loaf and wrap it in a cloth bag.

9. Shop Locally

Online grocery shopping is very convenient, but it also results in a great deal of packaging. Where possible, shop at local farmer’s markets instead. This will cut down on gas, the produce will be fresher, and your money will help sustain the local economy.

10. Avoid Tetra Paks

They may seem green – a neat little cardboard container, but the truth is that Tetra Paks are treated with a plastic coating to make them waterproof. Buy your milk in glass bottles instead.

11. Avoid Teabags

Teabags are actually very resource heavy and can be unhealthy for you. The bags are sometimes treated with plastic, or bleached to make the paper very white. They usually come in large cardboard boxes wrapped in plastic. The bags also often come with string, paper tags and staples. All of these would have to be removed if you ever wanted to compost the tea leaves. Use loose tea with an infuser instead and use a travel mug to take your tea with you wherever you go.

With these tips and substitutions, you can do your bit for the environment every time you go food shopping.

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