It’s no shock that there is a plastic pollution crisis across the globe. It’s been part of a discussion that has been widely debated over the years. And, if anything, COVID-19 has taught us that it’s now even more important to start making changes.
Humanity steps away for a nanosecond and UK cities start to see deer and animals wandering the streets and pollution drops by 40%. What it proves is that change can make a difference, whether that comes from an individual or a whole country.
There is hope, and we have the opportunity to make a switch in order to make the world a better place for us and for generations to come.
What we’re still seeing though, is masses of plastic in the ocean that can’t be undone. It takes thousands of years for the plastic to break down - and when it does, it is normally broken down by waves in the ocean and turned into micro plastic that infiltrates animals and, inevitably, human beings.
As advocates of greener alternatives, we wanted to share some easy quick ways brands and business can contribute to the fight against plastic pollution
1) Carry out a plastic audit
A great first step as a business is to carry out a plastic audit in order to understand plastic consumption and output within the business. This can determine how much waste is produced that isn’t necessarily recycled along with any changes you can make within the company. For example, is your packaging plastic? What do your suppliers do in terms of green initiatives? How much do you recycle? What do you use on a daily basis that is single-use plastic?
It’s a bit like a risk assessment, but instead monitors and checks your plastic use including recycling, waste and consumption company-wide. When you understand where your business is currently at, it can be easier to see where changes can be made in order to take steps forward.
2) Set up recycling stations
In a lot of offices, large contributions to plastic waste can often be down to a lack of recycling systems where employees often have no choice in where they leave their waste.
By setting up recycle stations in the relevant places, businesses give employees the opportunity to recycle and adjust the waste that is output.
Separate bins for different types of waste such as glass, electricals, batteries, paper and plastic can help waste companies to collect and recycle accordingly.
Whilst you might not be able to eliminate all plastic waste, you can add signs to demonstrate what bins take what internally, as well as instructing cleaners or janitors which bins go where externally that fits in line with your waste collection company or local government recycling collectors.
3) Research your waste collection company
Whilst you can make changes internally when it comes to waste, it’s always important to make sure to do your research when it comes to your waste collection company.
You can talk to those dealing with suppliers who can make sure whoever is collecting your rubbish and recycling is doing the right thing on the other side. It’s quite common that we see recycling and ‘regular’ waste collection in larger companies, but nothing that breaks down the recycling to a degree where you can break the difference down between food produce, glass, metal, electrical, plastic and cardboard.
Putting in some time to find a waste collection company that is happy to collect different types of recyclable items can be useful and can help you make changes for an improved recycling approach.
4) Equip your offices for your employees
It’s so easy for businesses not to take accountability for waste produced by employees, but it’s so important that they provide the right opportunities for employees to do the best they can for the environment.
Therefore, providing equipped kitchens with tea and coffee, mugs, utensils, plates, water coolers and glasses for staff can really help make a difference. Removing vending machines with plastic products and providing fresh fruit and veg or fridge space and cooking areas can encourage employees to make the right decisions and reduce waste overall for the business.
5) Make your toilets eco-friendly
Another area brands can make changes when it comes to their fight against plastic pollution is to address their toilet areas. Refillable soaps and dispensers can help to save both plastic consumption and money for your business.
In addition to this, environmentally friendly paper towels and toilet paper can make a real difference. As well as providing cotton towels that can be washed and reused.
6) Talk to your suppliers
There may be goods you receive from suppliers that come in packaging that might be covered in plastic. If you have built up great relationships with suppliers, it might be worth a conversation to ask them to reduce the plastic packaging they send to you.
If they’re not willing to make changes, find alternative suppliers who are more suitable so that your operations channel can be more environmentally friendly.
At Green Gift Cards, we make sure that our suppliers are as sustainable as possible – so your gift cards are as green as they can be from the tree to the result.
7) Encourage eco-friendly practices
Whether you’re looking internally or supporting green charitable causes, it always helps to promote the cause. As a business that feels strongly about the fight against plastic pollution, we believe that it’s really important to encourage your employees and stakeholders to do their best to help where they can.
By supporting those that want to make a change and local or national businesses that fight for change, we believe we can all slowly make a difference.
If you’re interested in making a difference in combating the plastic crisis and currently offer gift cards, we can help by providing recyclable gift cards, short run card printing and eco friendly card packaging. Get in touch or give us a call on 01794 725 454.