Tips for office without plastic

Office without plastic

Nowadays business organizations have a huge impact on the culture of individuals by influencing trends and patterns of behavior. Thanks to interconnection and networking, business organizations have an extremely high potential to participate in solving one of the biggest global problems – plastic pollution of the seas and oceans through concrete actions and innovations. While 40% of total plastic waste are single-use plastic products, single-use plastics account for around 86% of total marine litter.

How to create “plastic free office”?

  1. Remove all individual cans next to the tables and secure the central waste dumps in separate recycling containers/cans. To ensure the separation of waste at the place of origin, it is necessary to provide a container/can for each fraction of waste (paper, refundable plastics, glass, non-refundable plastics, biodegradable waste, carton, etc.). Set up an info billboard or sticker with information about what type of waste goes into which bin.
  • Ensure that employees have access to water from pipes or water tanks. If we use water tanks, remove the plastic cups from the holder and provide glass or other type of reusable cups. Paper cups contain plastic in a thin or mixed layer and are still single-use items, thereby consuming more resources and generating more waste.
  • If we own coffee machine, provide everyone with glass or other reusable cups for long-term use while prohibiting the use of disposable coffee and milk cartridges. It is desirable to use a coffee maker that uses ground coffee or coffee beans in a larger package.
  • Provide employees with reusable cutlery and dishes (mostly made of steel), and use them on various occasions (birthdays, business events, etc.). If we do not have a sufficient amount, get paper or wooden disposable cutlery, but have in mind that buying reusable products is cost-effective in long term and in full agreement with our objectives which is to reduce waste generation.
  • Prohibit the use of plastic straws. Most people do not need straws. However, there are still reusable alternatives on the market. Paper straws are still single – use items and if we cannot avoid a single – use items, significantly better alternative is straw made of pasta.
  • If we order food, it is desirable that it comes from environmentally responsible suppliers, who do not use plastic or polystyrene packaging. An additional criterion we can observe is the preparation of dishes with groceries from local manufacturers.
  • Reduce the use of plastic bottles for water, juices, etc. Most beverages can be found in glass or aluminum packaging. If their use is necessary, make sure you properly separate them.
  • Reduce the use of single-use plastic bags in offices and other premises of business. Provide employees with reusable bags such as cloth bags. There are waste bags made of compostable plastic or cardboard in accordance with European standards that are desirable to use in our business.
  • Avoid making promotional materials based on plastic. Use recycled paper and wood as more environmentally friendly solutions.
  • If it is possible, separate biowaste which accounts for about 40% of mixed municipal waste. We can separate it by disposing it in biowaste bins in accordance with local utility company rules, but we can also use small composting bins in the office and ensure that the collected biowaste is regularly discharged to the local compost field, for example, in consultation with local food manufacturers.

To be enterprising means being a carrier of innovation in our environment, a change maker, an initiator of new ideas. Being enterprising means taking responsibility for a business that leads to achieving our goal. It is precisely because of these characteristics that businessmen are key holders in the chain of change that we must initiate as a society to effectively fight against single-use plastic pollution to build a resistant, sustainable society and economy.

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GLOSSARY

Biowaste – any waste that is of plant or animal origin. Biowaste includes kitchen waste (food preparation residues) and garden or green waste. It is a valuable raw material for the production of quality compost.

Disposable plastics – all plastics that are produced with the intention of being disposable and discarded. It is commonly used for plastic packaging, bags, food packaging, plastic bottles, straws, containers, cups and cutlery.

Composting – the process of recycling organic waste, ie biowaste, which produces the most environmentally friendly organic fertilizer – compost.

Microplastics – small pieces of plastic material, usually less than 5 mm.

Polystyrene – a polymer of styrene and is one of the most common plastic materials. A significant application of polystyrene is in the form of expanded and extruded foams known under one of the trade names as “styrofoam”.

Recycling bins – containers used to dispose of materials before they are taken to recycling centers. Recycling bins come in a variety of sizes for use inside and outside homes, offices and large public buildings. Separate containers for paper, cans or aluminum cans, glass or plastic bottles are often provided or can be mixed.

Sustainable development – economic development that fully takes into account the impact of economic activity on the environment and is based on renewable sources of goods. The basic premise of sustainable development is: an increase in well-being is measured by an increase in the quality of life of the individual and the population as a whole, not by an increase in the amount of material goods or energy produced or consumed.