The effect of plastic waste is becoming more apparent. It is taking a toll on our environment and the organisms living within it. The manufacturing and destruction of plastic pollute the air, land, water. This exposes many people and living animals to the toxic chemicals generated from it. Synthetic plastic is not biodegradable and is building up on our lands – and especially in the sea water.
In light of all this, more individuals and corporations are becoming more aware of their increase in plastic pollution. They are making some efforts to reduce their waste. However, there are ways that an office can do even more to become more plastic conscious and aware of their habits.
Looking at what causes the most plastic waste from office buildings:
Single Use Plastics
This is an umbrella term for a lot of single-use items. A couple of items to consider here are the “big 4” when it comes to plastic waste. These include coffee cups, water bottles, plastic straws and plastic bags. These four items are making the most impact on plastic wastes in homes, offices and more. Most of the time making an effort to reduce the use of these plastic items can be easy. For example, replacing the plastic cups at a water cooler with paper ones – or even better – getting everyone to have their own individual reusable cups they can keep at their desks. Also, a good way to reduce the use of water bottles is to provide not only a reusable cup but always provide clean filtered water that the employees can use to refill their cups.
Employees can also use metal silverware and ceramic plates if they are in the break room. Keeping a clean area for them to wash and reuse their silverware will make them more likely to do so. Providing an area where employees can clean their items will make it easier for them to use reusable food containers from home – rather than packaged lunches.
Employees will have an abundance of pens they are hoarding in their desk drawers before they know it. Pens seem like such an essential part of an office, but they can be used with much more consideration. Employees can use pens only on official documents or when they are necessary. Then using wooden pencils for notes or jotting down other things. It can be very useful to create an area where all “dead” pens and markers go. They can be collected and shipped to 3rd parties, like the TerraCycle Recycling Program.
Air fresheners, soap bottles, and spray cleaners
These may not seem to be gone through as instantly as single-use plastics or even pens. Yet, these items contain a lot of plastic and are usually a thicker, harder plastic. Cone air fresheners that are often seen in bathrooms have a lot of plastic, and they don’t last long. Thus, they can end up getting replaced very often. Spray cleaners and soap bottles can also be gone through fast in an office environment. These can be trickier to replace but it is very much possible.
Using a different type of air freshener, like a plug-in, timed spray, or oil warmer, can use little to no plastic. They are usually more effective and provide better scents.
When possible, using refillable dispensers and buying the cleaners or soap in bulk is optimal. It can reduce the amount of single-use items getting thrown away.
The most effective way to reduce plastic waste it to become aware of how much plastic is being disposed of. Taking an extra step to find a way to use a more eco-friendly approach. Investing in plastic-free items and life choices will affect our planet and our future.