The Plastic Free Foundation is behind the global Plastic Free July movement, which encourages us all to reduce the use of plastic and switch to alternative recyclable and reusable options.
This cause is very close to our heart at Lincoln & York: sustainability is something we strive to get better at every day. So let’s take a look at some of the actionable advice from the organisers of Plastic Free July, which we’re using as the basis to some of our own plastic-free projects
Rethinking your packaging
Not surprisingly, one of the most effective plastic-busters is reducing or rethinking your packaging. Do you know how much plastic you get through a year in your business? And what impact it would make if you replaced some of it with more eco-friendly materials?
This is one of our major pushes right now at Lincoln & York. So far this year, we’ve moved 27 products over to polypropylene (PP) material – taking 139.5 tonnes of film from non-recyclable to recyclable, based on last year’s volume. That’s more than the weight of three HGVs!
We’re also planning on moving over another 22 products in the second half of the year, which means by the end of 2023, we’ll have potentially removed 200 tonnes of non-recyclable materials from our product packaging.
Sift and sort
Conduct a bin audit across workspaces, communal kitchens, bathroom facilities and break out rooms to see if you have bins that are adequately available and accessible for colleagues to separate their waste into.
We have bins in our offices to sort recyclable waste from standard waste, and also work with a third-party waste removal company. In the last year more than 44% of our waste was recycled and 100% of our waste was diverted from landfill.
Sometimes, people shy away from recycling in case they put the wrong thing into the wrong bin, so don’t be shy about putting up some shiny disposal signs above your new bins. You should see your rates of office recycling move in the right direction.
Up cup advice
You might have already heard of the Up Cup campaign, which encourages the use of reusable drinking cups on a ‘bring, borrow or stay’ ethos. The idea is that customers contribute a reusable cup to the ‘cup and mug library’ of their favourite coffee shop. Day to day, people can borrow a reusable cup for their takeaway coffee, returning it the next time they’re in – or stay in the shop with their drink instead, so their cup can be washed and reused.
We love this idea and it’s something we’d like to put into practice with our own team when they’re out and about. We have now ordered ‘keep cups’ for all of our team members to use in coffee shops for their taste and test sessions, and we will be distributing them this summer.
Green should always be seen
Does your company’s procurement procedure for sourcing supplies and manufacturing for business purposes extend to the items you need internally such as stationery, cleaning products and refreshments? Most importantly is your team on board and up to speed? Start by letting them know about the initiatives you’ve put in place around workspaces and then build on this momentum with group sessions and challenges on how to reduce plastic outside of the workplace. The Plastic Free July website has some good tips on harnessing motivation in your employees.
The Plastic Free Foundation suggests appointing a ‘green team’ to drive the message and mission, which we think is a great idea. You may need to start with just one or two ambassadors to drive change, but we’re confident that some of the easier green measures will get entire teams on board in next to no time!