40% of the 1,000 senior decision makers asked had not carried out basic steps to reduce single use plastic waste in their business, despite 70% acknowledging that staff want to reduce their single use plastic footprint.
Allison Ogden-Newton, the Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy said: “This research makes for shocking reading but it is not simply about knocking businesses for inaction – it is about understanding the barriers they face and looking to work with them to offer the expertise, support and guidance that will help them transform for good.”
She added: “The public are willing to get out there and do something to clean up the plastic that they see around them – more than half a million volunteers gave their time during the Great British Spring Clean to do just that – and businesses must support the public by playing their part. There are some 5.7 million small and medium-sized businesses in the UK, accounting for 99% of all businesses – so we need them to take action alongside the household names.”
As a small independent business, you can do your bit. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do - even the smallest changes can help!
Have a think about plastic items in your place of work that you can reuse regularly and not waste needlessly.
How about introducing reusable water bottles and a water filter or dispenser, rather than single use bottles of water? Get rid of plastic cutlery and invest in metal ones, and encourage people to bring in their own cups to help minimise your plastic waste.
We would also recommend using reusable ink cartridges for your printer too.
What about non-plastic items? There's things you can do there too. Rechargeable batteries save you money in the long run, for example.
If you need to buy new equipment, why not take a look at second hand furniture? Not only will it be cheaper, but you’ll be doing your bit for the environment too. Likewise, if you’re getting rid of equipment, donate it rather than just throwing it away - someone else is likely to want it!
You might not be aware, but those harsh cleaning products you use in your office, whilst they might have a lovely scent, may actually do a fair bit of damage to the environment.
A lot of the chemicals used stick around in the air, which is not good for our ecosystem.
There are lots of cleaning products out there that are less harmful. Take a look at this list The Independent created, which goes into the 10 best natural options that you can buy.
Whilst putting in procedures is important, there are also some simple things that you can do that take next to no effort.
Turn off all the lights each night before you leave your office or place of work. That also includes all electronics if you can.
Try and reduce the amount of paper that you use, and recycle what you do use. You can set your printer to print double sided, for example. And where you can, opt for electronic files instead of printing everything out.
Why not bring some plants into the office too? This will help create more oxygen into the air and make your place of work more comfortable.
Little things like this can make a difference.
You can find out more about recycling at work here.