This month signals the start of Plastic Free July®, a global movement designed to encourage people and businesses to be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and communities.
In the UK it is estimated that five million tonnes of plastic are used every year — yet only 1 quarter of it is recycled. The three quarters that isn’t recycled enter our environment, polluting our green spaces, rivers, and oceans, costing millions to clean up, and harming native wildlife and domestic pets.
Reducing plastic consumption and raising awareness about plastic recycling are crucial if we are to overcome the problem of plastic waste and pollution on our planet. In support of Plastic Free July, we are looking at some simple changes you can make in the workplace to contribute toward a more sustainable future.
A Waste Audit
Are you recycling, segregating, and avoiding waste correctly? Is your current waste management provider maximising recycling and ensuring zero waste to landfill? A waste audit can help you answer these essential questions to help make your workplace as sustainable as possible.
Look at what waste is produced and see if it can be eliminated. Are you still using single-use plastic takeaway cups? Try encouraging staff to bring in their own reusable cups or water bottles. For busier workplaces where this may not be feasible, consider swapping single-use plastic cups with biodegradable alternatives. With one client, we helped to eliminate over 1.8 million plastic cups from entering landfill each year by replacing plastic cups with biodegradable alternatives, made from renewable or recycled materials, which can be commercially composted with food waste.
Focusing on staff engagement and proper segregation of waste can also have a huge impact on the success of your overall waste strategy. At Andron, we aim to educate on the need to reduce, reuse and recycle, as well as the direct impact that waste has on the environment. Working with our dedicated waste partner, Bagnall & Morris, we support our customers in correctly segregating their waste through centralised colour-coded bins, bespoke, high-impact marketing, and on-site training to achieve the best possible recycling and recovery rates. Our waste management service is carbon neutral and strictly zero waste to landfill, too.
We can also offer more innovative solutions to further encourage recycling at work, such as reverse vending machines for plastic bottles and cans to collect and compact the plastic waste ready for recycling.
You may be surprised by the amount of single-use plastic your company regularly obtains, and even more surprised by how easy it can be to fix it.
Products such as hand towels and toilet rolls can all contribute to single-use plastic waste. Working with our supply partner, Bunzl, we are working to eliminate shrink-wrapped products from entering our client sites. By making simple changes such as swapping shrink-wrapped products for products packaged in cardboard boxes or paper, we are providing more opportunities for recycling and less plastic waste. With one product, this simple change eliminated approximately 13kg of single-use plastic waste from one client account.
Even the containers used for cleaning products can contribute to the plastic waste problem. Make sure your current cleaning provider is considering the full lifecycle of the products they use on-site, taking into consideration what happens to the plastic when done. Analysing products used can help you eliminate unnecessary plastic waste and where possible, close the loop.
Andron recently closed the loop on its range of Lactic acid, enzyme, and bio-based cleaning products, which are packaged in 5L containers made from recycled materials. When finished, the containers are collected by Bunzl, refilled, and returned to sites for reuse. So far, over 96 x 5ltr containers have been returned to be reused again in 2022.
Host or take part in a community litter pick
Why not help make our outdoor spaces cleaner and greener by organising or taking part in a workplace litter pick?
Campaigns such as The Great British Spring Clean organised by UK Charity, Keep Britain Tidy, offer a perfect opportunity to get involved in cleaning up streets, parks, and beaches.
Recently, at One Kingdom Street in London, our cleaning team joined forces with our client, JLL, and took to London’s waterways armed with litter pickers, clearing the canals of waste and pollution. Their efforts contributed to over 1 million bags of litter collected over the course of the campaign.
Lastly, don’t forget to share your progress! By spreading awareness and encouraging other businesses to follow suit, we can all contribute towards a world free from plastic waste.
Need some more ideas on how to improve your workplace waste management process? At Andron, we work in partnership with our Carbon Neutral waste management supply chain partners, delivering innovative zero waste to landfill solutions designed to increase recycling levels and energy recovery to help our clients achieve their overall sustainability goals. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.