It doesn’t matter the industry you work in; plastic waste occurs on a daily basis. In this blog we breakdown how your business can reduce the amount of plastic waste it is reducing, as well as cost effective alternatives.
Conduct a Waste Audit
From hospitality to retail and every industry in between, knowing where your waste comes from, and how much you produce is a great starting point to reducing waste.
Including the amount, origin and composition of the waste you’re producing helps you to analyse ways you can change and decrease plastic waste. It may be surprising to find out where your plastic is coming from.
Does your business have more than one recycling bin? Which is getting full first or on what day? Identifying whether large amounts of plastic waste is being produced on a certain day or in a particular place can also help you to determine the cause and therefore how to decrease this.
Reusable Bottles and Cups
If you’re a business that prioritises convenience, you’re more than likely a culprit of producing excessive amounts of plastic waste.
Many businesses buy bottled water in bulk or have weekly deliveries of plastic cups to restock the staff water fountain. Whilst this may reduce the number of dirty cups in the staff kitchen, it adds to the amount of plastic your business is producing.
Supplying staff with their own reusable bottle not only reduces the amount of plastic you’re producing, but also encourages them to use outside of the office too.
If you have a large number of staff who enjoy trips to the local coffee shop before work or on their lunch, investing in reusable travel mugs for them helps to reduce waste further.
Single-use plastic straws
Whether you keep a stash in the office kitchen or run a busy restaurant whose cocktails aren’t quite complete without a straw, as a country, we’re using an excessive amount of plastic straws.
It was revealed earlier in the year that the UK uses 8.5 billion plastic straws a year. As plastic straws are difficult to recycle, water is being polluted and aquatic life is being injured and killed off due to the volume of plastic in the ocean.
By encouraging your colleagues and customers to ‘refuse the straw’ or switching out your stash for paper or biodegradable ones, your plastic waste will drop drastically (and you’ll save the oceans at the same time).
Takeaway and Single-Use Packaging
Almost all catering and hospitality packaging suppliers are now offering a range of recyclable and biodegradable products.
If you’re a food establishment looking to overhaul your takeaway packaging options, it may be an idea to contact your suppliers to see if they offer an environmentally friendly alternative. Another option is to encourage your customers to bring their own tubs. Many local cafes are now offering reward systems for customers who bring their own boxes when buying a takeaway lunch.
Deliveroo have introduced new measures for their vendors, and now offer suppliers a choice of biodegradable, compostable and recyclable packaging through the Deliveroo Packaging Store.
For those not in the food industry but see an abundance of takeaway and food wrappers at the end of lunch, an initiative to encourage staff to bring their own lunch or provide their own boxes also helps to reduce this.
Whether you’re running a small hotel, a café or a small business, the chances are you’re going to have at least one toilet.
Consider reducing the number of products you use that come in plastics. For example, try hand soaps, shampoos and conditioners in glass containers or even use refillable dispensers instead of disposable. Refillable dispensers are now widely available so you’re sure to find one to meet your aesthetic needs, you can even run them through a dishwasher to keep them sparkly clean.
One thing every industry has in common is the abundance of teabags they get through. However, it is not commonly known that almost all standard ‘paper’ tea bags contain around 25% plastic. The plastic is used to seal and give structure to the bag and therefore doesn’t disintegrate in the water.
This does however mean that these tea bags are not 100% compostable, leaving behind small fragments of plastic to hang around in the soil.
Whilst switching to lose leaf tea may not be a viable option for your business (although, it is a plastic/ waste free option) a host of companies are now opting for non-plastic tea bags. Whilst offering both pyramid silk bags or ones made from different forms of bio-degradable corn-starch, there’s a company making delicious tea in plastic free teabags to suit your business.
Has your business already taken the plastic free approach? Tweet us @DJBRecycling some methods we’ve not mentioned that could help small businesses reduced their plastic impact.