According to UNEP the world produces around 300 million tonnes of plastic waste each year. We’ve been producing plastic since the 1950s and since then only 9% of all plastic produced has been recycled. This means the vast majority of the plastic we use every day won’t be recycled. It will end up in landfill, incinerators or may even be shipped abroad where it will be dumped in the environment. To make matters worse, half of all the plastic produced is single use. From food wrappers to straws, soap dispensers to dishcloths. Most of the plastics we encounter in our every day lives will be used only once and then thrown away.
We need to turn off the tap and eliminate as much plastic as possible at its source. Plastic Free July intends to do just that. It’s a global movement that helps millions of people all over the world to be part of the solution. So we can have cleaner streets, oceans and communities. Keep reading to find out how you can be part of the solution to end plastic pollution.
Why Is Single Use Plastic A Problem?
Unfortunately, the properties that make plastic so useful, also make it virtually indestructible if left to break down naturally. Plastic often ends up in the environment where it slowly breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. Eventually it turns into microplastics. Microplastics are commonly ingested by sea life and animals. They even end up in the water we drink and the soil we grow our food in.
We can’t eliminate all plastic from our lives. But we can choose to cut out unnecessary plastic and replace it for reusable or more sustainable alternatives. By taking a stand against single use plastic, you can help make a stand against the global waste crisis and prevent this material from continuing to damage our planet.
“A staggering 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the world’s oceans every year”.
“If current trends continue, our oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050”.
Take Action For Plastic Free July
This month, why not Take The Challenge and start looking for ways to reduce single use plastic at work. You can start small by investigating just a few things you could ‘stop’ or ‘swap’. You’ll be surprised at the impact this can have over time.
How To Reduce Single Use Plastic In Your Workplace
Carry Out A Single Use Plastics Audit
It’s a good idea to start with an audit to record all the single use plastic you are currently using in your workplace. You could even save up all your single use plastic for one week before disposing of it to see how much you produce.
Make Some Plastic Free Swaps
Once you have an idea of how must plastic you produce, pick a few plastic items to swap for reusable or eco-friendly alternatives. Even better, see if you can stop using single use plastic without replacing it with anything. Check out these ideas for some simple ‘swaps’ or ‘stops’…
- Swap cleaning products for refillable alternatives.
- Refill your soap dispensers or swap for soap bars.
- Swap plastic bags for reusable ones.
- Stop laminating paper.
- Swap disposable cutlery and plates for reusable alternatives.
- Provide a water station to allow customers and employees to refill their water bottles.
Join Your Local Plastic Free Community
Contact your local plastic free community through Surfers Against Sewage (SAS). If there isn’t one in your area you can register directly with SAS. Your community will provide you with help and advice on how to cut out unnecessary single use plastic from your business.
Once you’ve registered and made some plastic free swaps you can apply to become a Plastic Free Champion in recognition of your efforts.
What We Do At Reuseabox
As an environmental company that focuses on Cardboard Reuse, we were shocked to discover just how much single use plastic was lurking in our office and warehouse. So we made a plan to swap a few plastic items for more sustainable options. Check out our first plastic free swaps:
- In the warehouse we swapped single use adblue containers for a refillable IBC container.
- Soap bars and refillable handwash in the toilets.
- Refillable cleaning products replaced throwaway alternatives.
- A reusable wash cloth for the kitchen.
- A new coffee machine with reusable coffee cups.
- We invested in a new type of stretchwrap that enables us to use significantly less plastic to wrap up our pallets.
The new coffee machine proved particularly popular. And most of the swaps are more economical too. This cost saving will enable the company to invest in more employee focused initiatives such as team building activities and health and wellness projects.
Single use plastic is a huge environmental issue. Globally, we lack the infrastructure to deal with most of our plastic waste. Half of the plastic produced today is designed to be used only once. Less than 10% of all plastic ever made has been recycled. The good news is, most of the single use plastic we use is easily replaceable with more sustainable alternatives. A plastic audit will enable you to identify all the plastic you produce. Next choose some plastic items to ‘swap’ or ‘stop’. Organisations such as Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) will provide support and advice in the form of plastic free communities and online support.
If you’re a business looking for more sustainable ways of packing your products, find out why it’s better for the planet to Choose to Reuse.