In the USA we consume a staggering 240bn bottles a year, which contributes heavily to the total 10.5m tons of plastic consumed across the country every year. And this is only going to increase in the foreseeable future as the bottled water industry continues to boom.
One of the biggest problems associated with plastic consumption is the fact that just 1% of this plastic waste is recycled with only 75% of all plastic bottles used being recycled. This is resulting in huge amounts of non-degradable items ending up in landfill and polluting our oceans. We’ve formulated a simple and easy way to remember to reduce the amount of plastic you use at your workplace. We call it the 5 R Method: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Raise Awareness.
In any instances that you might not be able to recycle then refuse to purchase or consume. Simply avoid using plastic bottles, plastic bags, straws, cups and plates that cannot be reused over time. Use long-lasting, glass or paper alternatives. If your office installs a bottleless water cooler, then you can also enjoy fresh pure water in a way that is far more sustainable, without the need for any recycling.
Unfortunately, there may always be situations where you simply cannot avoid buying plastic. In these situations try to reduce the amount that is used at home and at your business. Use glass bottles of milk for your coffee, rather than plastic. Purchase a reusable lunch bag/box to carry around your lunch rather than a plastic bag. You can even store office items in cardboard boxes, which are much more environmentally friendly. The main focus is reducing the amount of plastic being discarded.
Reusing more durable containers to store food and beverages that you can take to work is a great way to reduce how much plastic is used. Reusable items that are nontoxic can easily replace plastics. Use things such as Tupperware (plastic or glass) containers for storing food or reusable canvas bags for shopping. You can even use reusable bottles at work to fill up at your bottleless water dispenser during your workday.
With less than 1% of plastic being recycled across the entire Unites States, there is so much we can all do to recycle more at home and at work. One of the most effective actions you can take at your office is to implement specific and clearly labelled recycling bins. Making recycling as easy as possible can be the first step to dramatically increasing the sustainability of your workplace. This allows you to recycle paper, cardboard and printer cartridges on a daily basis rather than these items ending up in landfill or our oceans.
Taking part in the previous four R’s are a great step into turning your business office and workplace into a more green-friendly environment. However, the biggest way to completely remove plastic from yours and other workplaces is to raise awareness of the problem. Informing co-workers, family and friends how they can help and get involved by implementing the 5 R’s in their life and help in having a plastic free July.