You can be a powerful voice for change at the workplace, whether you are an employee or a business owner. Regardless of the sector or type of workplace, there is likely to be disposable plastic that could be eliminated in the supply chain, the office, the staff canteen and other areas.
Auditing the entire organisation probably seems pretty daunting, so we’ve tried to make the process easier with a short plastic audit questionnaire as a first step and to help you look at different areas where plastic could be eliminated.
Click on a category
PLASTIC FREE CHAMPION SCHEME
The Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Champion programme invites businesses to review their workplace and supply chain, and to make at least three swaps or changes in how they buy/consume/produce in order to reduce single use plastic. It might be how you package your product, how you buy loo roll, how you clean the office environment, or how condiments are served in your staff canteen. You can either take part in the programme directly, or via your local Plastic Free Community lead – if you are in Gloucestershire please get in touch with us and we may be able to put you in touch with the relevant person. At Stroud District Action on Plastic we have worked with 34 small and medium sized businesses under this scheme, all of whom took the steps required to achieve their awards and continue to review their business operations. We also worked with a number of the largest employers in our district and continue to sign up businesses and bring people together to share best practice.
Could your business join the hugely successful Refill scheme? The scheme has a smartphone app which will put your business on the map as a refill point if you offer any of the following:
- free tap water refills for people with their own reusable bottles
- discounts or rewards for people bringing their own coffee cups
- food outlets who let people bring their own lunch boxes or containers
- other types of plastic free shopping
PLASTIC FREE CERTIFICATION MARK
There are two certification marks for businesses in the UK offering plastic free products and packaging and for businesses demonstrating their intention to reduce plastic across their operations: plastic free kitemark.
PLASTIC FREE JULY
The global Plastic Free July scheme has been running for many years and is an excellent way to get the people your work with involved. Sign up for their newsletter and receive a ton of good advice throughout July.
We are lucky to have several B-Corp accredited businesses in the Gloucestershire area, including Stroud Brewery, The Beeswax Wraps Co., Hobbs House Bakery, Invivo, Wildwood Ecology, Kung Fu Accounting, Perform Green and The Trust Partnership. Find out more about this ethical business accreditation here.
FOOD & DRINK
- consider swapping plastic wrapped snacks on offer for other alternatives such as fresh loose fruit, produce from your local bakery and crisps in home compostable packaging from Two Farmers
- provide filtered water on tap and use reusable glass bottles and cups rather than plastic bottles – if you have a water dispenser, provide paper cups rather than plastic
- have milk delivered by a local milk man
- swap plastic wrapped sachets and stirrer etc. for alternatives
- buy loose tea or plastic free teabags such as PG TIPS Biodegradable
- have ground coffee delivered by a local supplier like Goldensheep Coffee who will supply it in reusable bags on request; or buy coffee unpackaged from a zero waste shop
- encourage packed lunches or fresh sandwiches from local outlets
- supply re-useable mugs, cutlery and crockery instead of plastic, if this is not possible check out Vegware for plant based alternatives for disposable hospitality ware
- use non-plastic bin liners such as compostable eco bags or use separate bins for dry waste that don‘t need to be lined at all
- recycle paper, cardboard, glass and plastic. – check out Terracycle for specific recycling schemes and also check our page on recycling for more information
- take it in turns to take food waste or compost home – this is easier for small organisations
AQUEOUS OZONE CLEANING
A device for small and large organisations or professional cleaners that turns tap water into a safe, highly effective cleaner and sanitiser, eliminating the use of bleach and other chemicals. Ecotricity in Stroud installed such a device for cleaning their office premises. Read more here or search the internet for more information.
CLEANING PRODUCT REFILLS:
For a list of local shops check our resources page and the Ecover refill locator. Most zero waste shops, eco shops and some farm shops offer refill stations where you can take your empties and refill at a fraction of the cost.
- Liquid laundry detergents and fabric conditioner
- Toilet cleaner
- All purpose cleaner
- Liquid hand soap
- Floor cleaner
BATHROOM AND OTHER SUPPLIES
Most supermarkets offer a basic range of products that are not packaged in plastic:
- Dishwasher tablets
- Washing powder
- Laundry bleach powder
- White vinegar
- Kitchen roll in paper
Sign up for toilet paper subscription service with Greencane or other UK suppliers for larger quantities of unpackaged (naked) toilet rolls and plastic free kitchen roll and boxes of tissues.
Consider signing up for business recycling of paper, cardboard and plastic.
Use compostable bin liners wherever possible.
Here are some ideas for raising awareness about plastic at work:
- organise a talk
- organise a screening of a climate film (many are free to screen)
- organise a litter pick – see Chloe’s litter pick blog on how to get organised and where to get the right tools and supplies.
- organise a plog and jog while cleaning up the planet – see here how it is done.
- take part in Plastic Free July
If you are interested in wider issues of waste, recycling and the circular economy (a new way of designing, making, and creating value that benefits business, society, and the environment), look at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the video below.