1. Single-use items
Single-use items such as straws and plastic bags are a huge issue worldwide. We implemented the following initiatives to reduce the amount of waste created in, and around, the office due to single-use items, as well as to educate and encourage staff to implement similar programs at home.
- Provide reusable alternatives in the office to reduce takeaway food waste, such as metal straws and chopsticks, reusable containers, shopping bags at the lifts to grab before supermarket runs and reusable coffee cups.
- KeepCup workshop to educate staff about the impacts of single use coffee cups.
- Beeswax wrap workshops to teach staff about reusable alternatives and create excitement around reusable alternatives (Beeswax wrap blog).
- Education around Bio-plastics to help staff make informed choices about plastic use (Bio-plastic blog).
After introducing KeepCups and running an education session with our team we had visible changes in behaviour. We undertook our own survey both before and after the cups were introduced, and we learnt some interesting things.
Thanks to KeepCup’s education session and increased signage in the office, the team are now more aware of the environmental impact of disposable coffee cups: 95% being aware now compared to the 82% previously. Plus, more staff now say they would like to reduce or stop using disposable coffee cups altogether: 90% now compared to 75% in the last survey!
Interestingly, "How do you currently throw out disposable coffee cups" made very little change. With 20% saying recycle, 12% landfill and 68% splitting cup and lid.
Between biodegradable, recyclable or compostable (sometimes only the lid or only the cup) it’s enough to confuse even the savviest environmentalist. The cups can vary depending on where you get your coffee so it’s best to check on the lid and cup as to how to dispose of them. In general, splitting the lid (recycling) and cup (landfill) is the best way to go.
Since implementing these initiatives, our staff are more conscious of alternatives and many have implemented these initiatives at home. Check out our ‘Plastic Free July How We Went’ blog for some tips and tricks from our team.