10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste At Work
Plastic is undoubtedly one of humanity’s greatest inventions. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the key causes of environmental degradation worldwide. According to stats, if we keep producing and using plastic at the rate that we are, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, businesses worldwide produce a whopping 320 million tons of plastic waste. Fortunately, many companies in the UAE and the Middle East have recognized the potential environmental impact of plastic pollution and are taking strong measures to reduce or eliminate their usage.
Whether you’re an employee or a business owner, check out 10 ways to reduce plastic waste at work and follow in the footsteps of other organizations taking on this green initiative to become more socially responsible.
UAE Businesses Reducing Plastic Usage
Several renowned businesses in the UAE are taking on green initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint. Here are a few examples of companies actively breaking their workforce and consumers' plastic habits:
1. Emirates Airlines
Fly Emirates is one of the world’s top airlines. It was one of the first airlines to replace single-use plastics on board their aircrafts with eco-friendly alternatives, such as paper straws, metal cutlery, paper glasses, and recyclable bags.
2. Majid Al Futtaim Retail Group
Majid Al Futtaim is Carrefour’s official partner in the UAE. The company has pledged to eliminate single-use plastic in every aspect of its operation before 2025. This includes containers, trays, shopping bags, food packaging, pens, etc.
3. American University of Sharjah
The American University of Sharjah became the first Emirati university to ban single-use plastics on campus for administration, faculty, and students. The ban has been imposed on items, including water bottles, plastic containers, and beverages.
10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste At Your Workplace
1. Change Your Workplace Culture
The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. So, to reduce plastic waste at work, the first step is to educate workers about environmental degradation. Many green businesses hold training sessions to help employees pick up eco-friendly habits at the workplace, such as recycling and using plastic alternatives for different purposes.
2. Reusable Water Bottles
Single-use plastic water bottles are the major contributors to plastic waste in most offices and commercial facilities. The best way to reduce or eliminate the need for plastic water bottles is to opt for a metal or glass alternative. Many companies offer employees branded water bottles, cups, and other merchandise. You can join the bandwagon and use this clever solution to limit plastic usage.
However, since these are refillable bottles, make sure you provide filtered water to workers, so they don’t have to spend money on buying water bottles.
3. Plastic Recycling Bins
The simplest way to reduce plastic waste at work is by installing recycling bins for plastic waste only and opting for a waste pickup service in the UAE, such as RECAPP. This way, you can take matters into your own hands and segregate plastic waste from general waste to ensure the load isn’t rejected by processing plants.
4. Reverse Plastic Vending Machine
Many employees often require more than support or training to break old habits. They need incentives to make them want to embrace change. When it comes to recycling, one of the most trending methods involves installing reverse plastic vending machines for monetary benefits.
Public retail centers, such as the World Trade Center Mall and Yas Mall, have installed reverse plastic vending machines to prompt staff and shoppers to recycle plastic bottles in exchange for shopping vouchers and Netflix gift cards.
5. Green Deliveries
Most of the working population eats at least one meal during work hours. Many employees like to order food that typically comes in plastic packaging that consumers dump after a single use. Sure, you can choose to pack a lunch or save the container. However, another smart solution is to opt for green deliveries.
For instance, you can opt for restaurants that offer alternative packaging. Moreover, you can choose to order at less busy hours of the day to reduce the carbon footprint generated by traffic. Moreover, if you’re ordering for multiple people, opt for large servings in bigger containers instead of individual packages.
6. Plastic-Free Cleaning Supplies
Thanks to the growing eco-conscious generation, you can find many alternative cleaning products in the market that don’t pack any nasty chemicals or come in non-plastic packaging. You can also opt for refillable detergent containers.
7. Remove Plastic Containers and Cutlery From Your Office Kitchen
If your workplace has a kitchen where employees can warm their meals or make tea/coffee, a great way to reduce plastic usage is by providing mugs, glasses, ceramic plates, and other types of traditional crockery. You can also install a dishwasher and train your staff to stack it once they’re done. Equipping your office kitchen with a coffee maker is also a great way to reduce plastic and paper cup usage at the workplace.
You can also switch to zero-waste coffee for additional environmental benefits.
Most offices use plastic stationery and office supplies, including pens, calculators, tape, paper clips, file folders, whiteboard markers, etc. All these items can be replaced with the integration of digital processes.
For instance, note-taking apps can replace notebooks and reduce the need for pens. Similarly, workers can use their smartphones or computers to download calculator apps for simple calculations. Cloud or digital storage can reduce the need for paper document storage in plastic folders.
9. Green Activities
Fostering a green culture is one thing. However, getting buy-in requires more than policies or training sessions. Many companies organize non-work-related activities and team-building exercises by partnering with recycling centers and volunteer organizations.
For example, Emirates Environmental Group organizes annual Clean Up UAE campaigns at different beaches in the Emirates, such as Al Bahia Beach in Abu Dhabi.
10. Shop in Bulk Quantities
Finally, if you cannot eliminate plastic use from your workplace, you can reduce it. One of the best ways to do this is to buy office supplies in bulk or large quantities to minimize wastage. For instance, you can opt for one large container of detergent instead of small ones every week.
Similarly, you can buy bigger garbage bags to collect more trash or purchase your plastic items from zero waste shops.
So, there you have it – 10 ways to reduce plastic waste at work. With this information, you can drastically reduce your carbon footprint and save a lot of money in the long run. Plastic pollution is becoming a serious problem, and consumers at every level need to make more eco-friendly solutions to reverse some of the damage inflicted on our planet.
RECAPP is one of the fastest-growing recycling solutions in the UAE. We offer a free door-to-door recyclables collection and provide business solutions for all types of organization.