Create a sustainable work environment with these easy steps.
We’re on board (obviously) with a growing trend in office culture: eliminating single-use plastic bottles. It’s easy, it’s green, and it’s a simple way to create a healthier planet.
The massive amount of single-use plastic that our society produces and disposes of each year (to the tune of about 30 million tons of plastic in the US alone), combined with growing awareness of the harmful health effects of plastic on human health, have inspired many corporations and offices to take steps to end the plastic problem. To make it happen, the first thing they’re doing is eliminating single-use plastic products from their offices.
If you’re wondering how your office can be more sustainable, we’ve come up with a few simple steps that will help turn your office into an environmentally friendly, plastic-free location!
Ban the plastic bottle
Just do it. Will it be a big change? Sure, but once your team understands the benefits that come with banning single-use plastic waste, you’ll be wondering why you haven’t done it already.
And when team members start questioning your drastic change to the office environment, consider these reasons:
It’s good for culture: It’s always impressive to walk into a business that’s proudly implementing green practices (hello, 2017!). By placing glass cups in the breakroom, compostable receptacles in the hallways, and a (beautiful blue) Refill Station front and center, you’re proving that your office is committed to eliminating waste. Bonus: when employees engage in sustainability at work, they end up extending those efforts to their home life, too.
Bonus: when employees engage in sustainability at work, they end up extending those efforts to their home life, too (true fact!).
It’s better for employee wellness: Refilling with chilled, perfectly purified, great-tasting water is the healthiest alternative to single-use plastic bottles. Great taste, superior water system technology, and trusted purification have people happily choosing water over other options, and drinking MORE water, too. We’ve found that offices with FloWater drink up to 250% more water than they did before they had a Refill Station.
It’s a money saver: Let’s ignore the fact that plastic water bottles look REALLY tacky sitting all over the office or overflowing from recycling bins. They’re also more likely to be thrown out half full (“which one was mine again?”), and since bottled water is sold at up to 300% markup, it’s like you lose twice. Switch out the water bottles during meetings for a branded carafe with chilled water. Remove single-use bottles from breakrooms and redirect those costs to glass cups or reusable bottles. Just a couple simple switches can save hundreds of dollars a month.
Create a sustainability team
You probably have a planet lover or two at your office. Ask them to join forces to create a more sustainable office. Give them a task force designation (let them come up with a cool task force name) and have them dedicate an hour each work week to ideate. Your task force will help determine the sustainability issues your office is facing and figure out ways to deal with them. They’ll influence other employees and help you create the plastic-free office you want. Have the sustainability team start with one or two projects. Single-use plastic bottles can be the first thing to tackle, and a good second one might be single-use plastic cutlery. Then plastic straws. Shopping bags. You get the idea.
Your task force will help determine the sustainability issues your office is facing and figure out ways to deal with them. They’ll influence other employees and help you create the plastic-free office you want. Have the sustainability team start with one or two projects. Single-use plastic bottles can be the first thing to tackle, and a good second one might be single-use plastic cutlery. It will also be a good idea to invest in a water refill station. Then plastic straws. Shopping bags. You get the idea.
Add a Refill Station, of course!
Ensuring easy access to a sustainable, purified water refill station is an awesome way to end your office’s reliance on plastic bottles. Refill Stations are better for your health than bottled water, save money for the business, and allow you to create a more earth-friendly office. As you ditch the plastic bottles for your new water Refill Station, why not ditch plastic straws at the same time?
Not completely ready to cut the plastic cord? Ease into the idea by implementing an office-wide recycling program. Make it easy for team members to participate (recycling containers everywhere), and really easy for them to know exactly what to do (pictures and examples of what’s recyclable, what’s compostable, and what should go straight to the garbage).
Design an infographic
Sounds like a sustainability team project! Create a few eye-catching graphics, add a message point for each graphic, and put the infographic next to your Refill Station, in the fridge where the plastic bottles used to be, or next to the recycling bin. Or, use this infographic we’ve created for you: Sustainability Overview Infographic
By sharing clips of information on the effects of single-use plastics, you create a more educated company and a greener business.
Create an office challenge
Our friends at Mizu Bottles offer the Mizu 15-day challenge, which is a great way to start your office sustainability program. Bonus – they’re doing the hard part for you!
A couple other ways to do it:
- Department challenge: the department that fills up the recycling bin fastest wins new reusable bottles
- Team challenge: the team with the most members carrying reusable bottles on a “surprise sustainability check day” wins a free lunch
There are lots of ways to encourage healthy and engaging competition that will result in building a plastic bottle-free office in a fun, friendly way.
If just 10% of the country’s 29 million businesses were to replace single-use plastic products with reusable or waste-neutral products, we’d see an immediate reduction in annual plastic waste output.
Now dump the plastic bottle and get to work. For yourself, and for your environment.