Plastic Free July: The office return
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Last July our blog highlighted some of the efforts employees at PacSol were making to reduce plastic waste in their lives. Plastic and its devastating effects on the flora and fauna of planet Earth is still very much the ‘hot’ topic within environmental discussions.
With so many people staying at home over the last 18 months, the idea that less disposable coffee cups, sandwich wrappers, single use drinks bottles etc would enter the refuse system was some comfort (although perhaps not for the businesses that relied on their sale) but instead we (the human race) introduced a whole new problem with single use masks, full body PPE and Covid test kits!
With the prospect of lockdown further easing and a return to some form of normality BUT still with the added Covid measures such as masks and home test kits ongoing, this July it seems more relevant to look at ways to have an impactful, permanent change on plastic habits.
The Plastic free July website has many ideas, some specific to work and businesses, on reducing our collective impact on plastic usage. Below are a few of PacSol employee’s own suggestions / experiences that perhaps may help to show it is possible to make changes at no real ‘cost’ to you, just a benefit to the planet…
- Water bottles – it is true, there are offices that do not ‘certify’ their kitchen faucet as suitable for drinking but generally speaking the cold water running out of the office kitchen tap is no different to the one in your house. Bring a drink bottle to work to fill and / or have a glass for your desk if you prefer. For those offices with an ‘unsuitable’ supply, rather than resort to bottled water (PacSol made the decision with employees to remove our office bottled water filter / cooler), engage your office manager to have a mains supplied filter put in or perhaps the issue with the standard supply addressed.
- Tupperware – ditch the need to wrap (cling film / cellophane) by using air tight plastic containers. WAIT you cry – that is still plastic! Yes, but not single use. Bonus points if your containers are made from 100% recycled plastics and themselves can be easily recycled at the end of their useful life. Re-using the plastic tubs your local takeaway provides your occasional treat in is also a good option. Of course there are always Bees wax wraps too.
- Cafetiere and coffee tin – Take and store at your desk a single mug cafetiere, a mug and an airtight tin for storing ground coffee. Simply use the kettle (most offices have a kettle) for a beautiful, aromatic cup of caffeinated joy without the disposable cups / pods / energy intensive ‘instant’ granules. Same could be applied to the use of loose leaf tea and a reusable tea infuser. This author has made coffee like this for nearly all of his working life!
- Hot beverage on the move – whilst currently there are restrictions on the use of reusable cups at most outlets, it will change. Make sure you always have a reusable cup in your bag should you feel the need for a hot beverage on the go or even make one to take with you before leaving.
- Reusable carrier – Always have a carrier bag in a pocket or bag to hand so that you are never caught short out shopping and need to resort to a single use carrier. There are many options available, made from strong ‘parachute like’ material that pack away small and are extremely light, therefore easy to fit in a pocket. This author has used the same Onya shopping bag for around 10 years…
- Need a sturdier bag – There are many manufacturers now including recycled materials in their products to avoid using new materials and helping to close the resource loop. Patagonia for example produces an everyday rucksack (suitable for commutes with laptops etc) and a whole range of bags made from recycled polyester – incidentally they also score rather high on the ethical consumer reviews as a company.
Plastic Free July invites you to ‘choose to refuse’ single use plastics as it is consumer actions that will eventually dictate what is manufactured – why not take a further look at their website and see how you can be a part of the plastic solution.
Toby Gilbertson, Customer Services Manager. June 2021.
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