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10 ways to reduce plastic use in the workplace

The theme of World Earth Day on 22 April was to end plastic pollution.

After the big hitting success of David Attenborough's Blue Planet 2 earlier this year, and with the same theme for this year's World Environment Day coming up on 5 June, there has never been a better time to raise awareness of plastic pollution and to take action.

What do you already do to reduce the amount of plastic you use at work? Even if you're very aware of how much you and your colleagues use, and do your best to limit it, we can all do more to change our mindsets around the way plastic fits into our workspaces. By making a few small changes you can make it easier for people to minimise their use of plastic at work.

What can you do in your workplace to reduce plastic usage? There are lots of ways to reduce the amount of plastic your colleagues and employees are using - even within an office environment. Make a start with our ten suggestions.

Around the office

  • Reuse proper cups and glasses; don't provide single use disposables.

  • Encourage employees to bring a reusable drink bottle to work - or provide a branded one for them - rather than buying a disposable one.

  • Provide drinking fountains rather than vending machines.

  • Cut down on cleaning products that come in plastic bottles. Look into environmentally friendly alternatives that use microfibre cloths and water (a double win: you've just reduced hazardous substance use too!).

In the staff kitchen/canteen

  • Ask your caterers/canteen staff to move from using plastic packaging for food items to sustainably sourced cardboard packages and paper bags that are biodegradable and more easily recycled.

  • Provide proper metal cutlery in the staff canteen/kitchen, rather than disposable plastic items.

  • Replace plastic drinking straws and coffee cup lids with biodegradable alternatives.

  • Have milk delivered in returnable glass bottles.

Office supplies

  • Use pencils made from sustainably sourced wood, rather than plastic propelling types. 

  • When ordering promotional materials, go for smart branded paper bags rather than plastic carrier bags to hold free gifts and company literature.

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