Colleagues at work in business wanting to reduce plastic waste

How to reduce your business’s plastic waste & save money

Plastic is a real buzzword at the moment and rightly so — it is polluting our planet, killing wildlife, and contaminating our seas. In fact, approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans daily.

Many of us are trying to cut down on single-use plastic at home, but businesses need to look at their use too. After all, a business will use much more plastic than an individual will, and it will be costing lots of money in waste collections too. Not only that, but addressing plastic waste issues will enhance your brand’s reputation and help you to attract eco-friendly customers. There’s literally nothing to lose — except the plastic.

So, how does a business look at reducing its plastic use? Follow our simple steps below to get started.

1.      Carry out a plastic audit

The best place to start when looking at reducing a business’s plastic waste is with an audit. Carry out an assessment to see where and why you use single-use plastic items in your business at the moment, then write it all down or pop it in a spreadsheet to digest later. Once your plastic audit is complete, sit down and read through the results. Then make notes on changes you can make to eliminate the single-use plastic from your workplace — tackle the easy changes first, then put plans in place to make the harder changes over the coming weeks.

2.      Get your employees on board

Talking to business employees about plastic waste

It is important that you inform your employees and colleagues about the business’s efforts to reduce single-use plastic, as they will impact your plastic waste output greatly.

Give an inspirational talk on the issues surrounding plastic waste and why you’d like to eliminate single-use plastic from your company. End your talk with suggestions of how your employees can help and get involved, and ask them to come to you with ideas of how plastic could be avoided in their particular role.

If you have a budget for this task, consider gifting reusables to your employees, such as on-the-go coffee cups and lunchboxes. If not right away, then perhaps for birthdays or to celebrate workplace achievements. These could be branded too, if you like!

3.      Talk to suppliers

If you work with suppliers, talk to them about your wish to avoid single-use plastic — they may be able to change up their packaging to help you. If not, you could always look at changing suppliers to a more eco-friendly option that you can proudly shout from the rooftops about.

4.      Eliminate plastic bottles

Business employee drinking from plastic bottle

A very common plastic waste item in offices is single-use water bottles — whether provided to employees or brought in by individuals to avoid the tap water. Either way, you can easily solve this problem by providing a filtered water cooler or by adding a filter to the kitchen tap. This expense will quickly pay for itself, and it will make a huge difference in terms of your plastic waste output.

5.      Change up your tea & coffee

I guarantee you’ll be surprised by how much single-use plastic is involved in tea-making. Most teabags contain plastic (making them uncompostable), and both tea and coffee are often sold in packaging that features plastic, too. Then there’s the milk containers. Find a local glass bottle milk delivery service to eliminate that particular issue. Does your company use metal spoons and real mugs? As you can see, there’s lots to consider in this area of your business alone when it comes to hidden and avoidable plastic!

Cut your business waste costs and start work on eliminating single-use plastic from your workplace today! Do you have more tips for businesses? Let us know in the comments below.

Published by

Lucy Ravenhall

Lucy is a long-standing editor of the Forge Recycling blog and loves writing about her environmental passions.