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Simple ways to reduce plastic use in your workplace

From October 2018, Parliament implemented a brand new range of compostable products to replace existing single-use plastics.  As part of the new policies, they stopped selling plastic water bottles in the Houses which instantly removed 120,000 bottles from circulation every single year.

More and more people are now also making efforts to minimise their plastic usage and wastage in their homes and personal lives. However, we hope to see more workplaces shrinking their use of plastic this year so have put together a few hints and tips on how to reduce plastic in the office.

Modern minimalist biophilic office

Did you know:

  • The world’s annual plastic waste now sits at 100 million tonnes every year, compared to 5 million tonnes in the 1950’s.
  • The UK is responsible for around 5 million tonnes of the world’s yearly plastic waste.
  • Use of plastic in Western Europe is growing by 4% every year.
  • Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose.
  • There is thought to be more than 45,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean.

(Statistics via

So how can you help reduce plastic in the workplace?

Modular and collaborative space in modern biophilic office

Swap plastic biros for refillable pens or pencils

Plastic biros are not something that might immediately spring to mind when thinking of plastic within the workplace but they are something which are often used in abundance in UK offices.

If you think about how many times you lose, break or throw away a plastic biro, it will probably make you think twice about your stationery and business supplies. Consider swapping for refillable pens or pencils to significantly reduce plastic wastage.

Work with ethical partners and suppliers

As part of our responsibility to lowering our environmental impact, we only over work with ethical and sustainable partners, suppliers and manufacturers. Lowering plastic wastage can extend beyond the physical workplace itself into the network of external parties your brand is associated with.

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Install a water cooler or water filter

One of the biggest contributors to the plastic pollution crisis is the single-use water bottle. You can help minimise this in the workplace by installing a water cooler machine or filter tap. That way, staff can stay healthy and hydrated without having to rely on the convenience of plastic water bottles.

Get rid of single-use plastic cups and bottles

If you do choose to install a water cooler or filter, ditch the standard plastic disposable cups and encourage staff to use glasses or their own reusable water bottles instead.

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The same goes for hot drink machines and vending machines – swap polystyrene cups and plastic lids for mugs or reusable ‘keep cups’.  If you have the available budget, you could even provide branded versions of these for all employees to encourage more ethical consumption throughout the working day.

Reward and facilitate recycling efforts

There’s nothing quite as motivational as a bit of healthy competition so make reducing plastic in the workplace fun by incentivising and rewarding efforts.

Give staff a reason to want to participate by offering something as simple as an early Friday afternoon finish for anybody who can go a full working week without single-use plastics.

Man in office discarding plastic bottle by using recycling bin

Encourage things like:

  • Bringing in home-prepped lunches
  • Using reusable cups, cutlery and storage containers
  • Using recycling bins within the workplace
  • Using recyclable or non-plastic stationery
  • Swap gum for mints as chewing gum is made from a type of synthetic plastic

Now we’ve shared our ideas, we want to hear from you! If you’ve got any of your own tips or advice on how to reduce use of plastic in the workplace, come and share them with us over on Twitter @PenkethGroup.

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