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Tips for Cutting Plastic Consumption at Your Small Business

Close up of paper shopping bags in male hand
Plastic consumption has become an everyday part of most people's lives, including their work lives. From the plastic water bottles you sip on throughout the day to the single-use container that stores your lunch, plastic has become a product people have unwittingly come to rely on. Unfortunately, the convenience of plastic at work wreaks havoc on the environment.

Learn a few ideas you can implement at your small business to cut down on your employees’ plastic consumption.


Inform Your Employees About the Impact of Plastic on the Environment

Several internet sites, books, and magazine articles feature shocking statistics concerning the impact of plastic on the environment.

For example, according to Earth Day Network, American consumers purchase approximately 50 billion plastic water bottles each year. 500,000 people sip their beverages through straws around the world each day. And by the year 2050, researchers estimate more plastic will in the oceans and seas of the world than fish.

Compile information about the dangers and overconsumption of plastic, and distribute them to your employees. Make it mandatory that employees read the information. Hiring an environmentalist in your area to educate your employees about plastic consumption is another way to make them more aware of the problem.


Reward Employees for Going Plastic-Free

Start by encouraging your employees to ditch plastic, both at home and in the workplace. Make going plastic-free more fun and rewarding by creating a contest at work. For example, each employee can receive one point for each day they go completely plastic-free. The person with the most points at the end of the month receives a reward, such as extra vacation time or a gift certificate to a local restaurant.

Giving your employees little rewards every day is another option. For instance, every time you notice someone switching to a reusable water bottle or enjoying their snacks from a glass container, give them a small treat.

Gifting your employees with reusable plastic or glass water bottles is another way to encourage your employees to ditch disposable plastic bottles and containers.


Make Recycling Easy

If employees find making the transition away from plastic difficult, make it easier for them to recycle their containers, water bottles, or plastic wrappers. Provide recycling stations throughout your office space or small business. A centrally located and brightly colored recycling station near an office break room or the door can help make recycling much less of a hassle.


Install Water Dispensers

If your employees do not have access to anything but tap water, or water from a traditional water fountain, they might be more inclined to grab a plastic water bottle. One inexpensive option that will encourage your employees to enjoy fresh, cool water from their glass or reusable plastic sports bottle is a sustainable water dispenser.

You can install these dispensers almost anywhere in your small business space. Consider a model that is touch-free and has a high-efficiency filter.


Conserve Office Supplies

In addition to being a needless expense, wasted office supplies, including plastic pens or scissors with plastic grips, contribute to plastic pollution. Encourage your employees to take simple steps to make their plastic office supplies last longer.

Something as simple as reminding employees to put the cap back on their pens or to avoid taking them home can help you greatly reduce your consumption of plastic office supplies.

From providing your employees with information about the dangers of plastic to the environment to turning eliminating plastic throughout your workplace into a game, you can cut plastic consumption at your small business in several ways. If you have any more questions, contact MSG Waste & Refuge.