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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