On the 8th of June every year, the world celebrates World Ocean Day, providing a unique opportunity for diverse organisations, schools, businesses, and communities to celebrate and rally together to protect the ocean and the entirety of our blue planet.
Healthy oceans and seas are essential to our existence. They generate most of the oxygen we breathe, and we rely on them for food, energy, and water. Yet, we have managed to damage these precious resources enormously – one of the biggest catalysts being plastic pollution. Worryingly, the amount of plastic in the ocean is expected to double in the next 15 years, and by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea (by weight). Yet, it’s still possible to change the situation.
In support of World Ocean Day, we share five ways businesses can contribute toward the fight against waste and plastic pollution and ensure a more sustainable future for our blue planet.
Conduct 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 and help you get to know your waste, including what or how much you throw away. This process can help you establish a baseline, provide valuable insights into your environmental impact and guide future initiatives. It helps determine the effectiveness of your current system and identify areas for implementing new strategies.
Develop your action plan
Use the waste audit results to develop an action plan for waste reduction and improved waste management. This could be simple changes such as eliminating single-use plastic takeaway cups and encouraging staff to bring in their own reusable cups or water bottles. You may need to increase the number of on-site bins, switch up your signage to make recycling simpler for customers, alter waste streams or hold staff engagement sessions. You could even consider eliminating single-use plastic bin liners from your waste service and bins as a ‘naked bin’ – simply washing it out as needed. Regularly monitor and review progress to ensure ongoing improvement.
Engage with your suppliers
The products coming into your places from suppliers, such as hand towels, toilet rolls, and cleaning products, can all contribute to waste. Is your cleaning supplier offering you products where the entire product lifecycle is considered? Ask your supplier about implementing closed-loop recycling or products packaged in cardboard boxes or paper to provide more opportunities for recycling and less waste.
Organise a cleanup project to clean up a local river, seaside, or ocean
Cleaning up polluted areas can show stakeholders just how bad the problem is – there’s nothing like first-hand experience to encourage change! You could even involve your suppliers, customers, and employees – the more hands, the better.
Surfers Against Sewage is a grassroots environmental charity that campaigns to protect the ocean, and their annual Million Mile Clean, running every year until 2030, provides a great way to get involved with cleaning your local environment. It’s great for team and relationship building as well!
Share your successes and inspire others to act
Awareness Days like World Ocean Day are crucial in the fight against plastic pollution. You can be part of the positive change our oceans desperately need by amplifying your voice today and throughout the year.
Remember, even small actions can make a big difference in protecting our oceans. It’s important to encourage a culture of sustainability, involving and motivating employees to be more mindful of our limited resources and our daily choices’ considerable impact on our fragile environment.
Need some more ideas on how to improve your workplace waste management process? At Andron, we partner 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 email@example.com to find out more.