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Taking a Stand Against Single-Use Plastics.

23rd January 2019
Taking a Stand Against Single-Use Plastics

Here’s How Promotional Products Can Help Your CSR (and Save the Environment)

Over the past few months, the fight against plastic use has become difficult to ignore. Restaurants are ditching straws, high street chains are offering discounts for brewing hot drinks into reusable cups, and even introducing cups made of newer, more sustainable materials. Meanwhile, shoppers are subjecting supermarkets to ‘plastic attacks’ by ripping packaging off shopping and leaving it at the till.

Whilst the amount of waste going to landfill has fallen by 65% in the past 15 years, we still have a long way to go when it comes to changing our attitudes towards recycling at home, at work, and in the wider community. To put it in perspective, we generate just as much waste at work as we do in the home (14% of the UK’s total output respectively). So even though we can walk away from it at the end of the day, the impact we have on the environment in the office is just as important to consider.

Without further ado, let’s run through the impact your 9 to 5 has on plastic consumption, and what you can do to help as a business.

9am – The Morning Coffee

If you’re a caffeine addict, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of the takeaway cup. You might have forgotten your favourite thermos, or need an emergency brew from your local café. The sad fact is that only one in 400 takeaway cups actually end up recycled – partly because of the lengthy recycling process involved in stripping away the polyethylene liner inside – and partly because 50% of the cups we use end their lives as litter. Long story short, we use 7 million disposable cups every day, of which less than 1% will get recycled.

The reality is staggering, and shows what a major impact even a cheeky espresso can have on the environment. But before you get bogged down by guilt, know that as a business owner and a consumer, there are a myriad of ways you can help the situation (and you’re not fighting it alone).

The easiest way to do this is to promote the use of reusable drinkware. You can pioneer it in the office by kitting the team out with their own branded thermoses or reusable mugs – as well as using them every day in the office, staff on the road can show off their eco-friendly cup to customers. To spread the word further, gift reusable cups to your customers as part of a wider CSR strategy. Or, you could follow in the footsteps of companies like Sky by pledging to cut plastic packaging from your supply chain altogether.

12pm – Staying Hydrated

We use over 35.8 million plastic bottles a day in the UK, with just over 50% of this total being recycled. With plastic production estimated to quadruple by 2050, it’s important to eliminate plastic bottles wherever possible. Switch out bottled water in the board meeting for jugs and glasses; invest in branded reusable bottles for staff and customers to reach for. You could also look into replacing plastic drink and tableware with alternative sustainable materials such as bamboo and vegware.

5pm – Taking It All Home

Did you know that the 5p carrier bag charge introduced in 2015 reduced usage by more than 83% in its first year? When it comes to ditching plastic bags and carriers in the office and at events, you can take a stance by offering reusable tote bags. After all, a reusable bag needs to be used only 11 times to have a lower environmental impact than using 11 plastic ones. Another excellent branding opportunity, offering out fabric totes rather than plastic shows your customers and peers that you’re committed to the eco-friendly way of doing business.

The average person could cut their carbon emissions by 540kg a year by reducing their packaging waste by as little as 10%. Imagine what impact your business could have if you chose to take a stance on single-use plastics, takeaway cups, bottles and bags!

Our brand new promotional products brochure is now out. It features hundreds of eco-friendly items to help you take your CSR to the next level. To find out more about our range, get in touch with us by clicking here.

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