When it comes to sustainability, we all have room to grow. There are plenty of ways we can reduce our carbon footprint and our plastic use at home and in our personal lives, but our workplace is just as important.
If you're not sure how to get started reducing your single-use plastic waste, now is a great time to learn. Let's talk about Plastic Free July, how it started, and what you can do to get involved today.
What is Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July is a part of the plastic-free initiative that started around 2011 when Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and her team in Western Australia decided it was time to tackle single-use plastics. The idea is to reduce single-use plastic waste and make more eco-friendly choices for a greener world.
After a decade of hard work, it has become more popular worldwide to take part in Plastic Free July to help the environment and reduce plastic waste.
Millions of people take the pledge every year to commit to plastic free living for the month of July, and some even keep these habits for the rest of the year and beyond.
How to Get Your Office Involved in Plastic Free July
Whether you're the #boss at your company or an eco-friendly employee, there are plenty of ways you can get your office involved with Plastic Free July.
If you can contribute at all, even for one day, a week, or make just one small change for the whole month, you can help our planet be a little greener. Every step counts, and the Earth will thank you for your efforts.
Start Recycling and Compost Programs
Try talking to whoever's in charge of your office to see if you can start a recycling or compost program! Recycling can reduce the amount of plastic waste that makes its way into the landfill.
Set up office recycling bins and commit to taking them to the recycling center every week or arranging for them to be picked up.
Composting helps return food scraps to the earth, rather than landing them in a landfill as well. Set up a location for those in your office to put their banana peels, compostable coffee pods, and other organic waste to keep it out of the trash and coordinate a drop off or curbside pick-up with your local commercial compost facility.
Switch to Carbon Neutral Coffee Pods
Speaking of carbon-neutral and compostable coffee products, we have some of those, and they're delicious.
If your office has a coffee pod brewer, you can use some of our compatible coffee pods. At Smile Coffee Werks®, we use responsibly sourced coffee beans for all our brews and are Rainforest Alliance Certified for an environment friendly cuppa joe.
If you're more of an espresso aficionado, we have those style pods, too. Both types of coffee pods are plant-based, carbon-neutral, and commercially compostable, so you don't have to harm the environment to get a delicious cup of coffee.
BYOC: Bring Your Own Cups (And Other Dishes)
A great way to reduce your use of single-use plastics is to have your employees and co-workers bring their own mugs and other dishes to work.
Let's take a quick look at the impact of single-use coffee "paper" coffee cups. They're not recyclable, since they have a plastic coating on the inside, not to mention the plastic lids and straws.
If you're buying or using a new non-recyclable coffee cup every day, you're contributing 23 pounds of waste per year. Not to mention that each cup is responsible for 0.24 pounds of CO2 emissions.
So, switching to reusable mugs and coffee thermoses would cut back on 23 pounds of waste per person per year. Even if your office or workplace only has ten people, getting everyone to make the switch could save 230 pounds of waste a year from the coffee cups alone.
Not to mention all the plastic waste that comes from other sources, such as water bottles, take-out containers, utensils, and plastic straws. Have those who can participate bring in and wash their own reusable dishes, utensils, water bottles, and other materials to reduce the plastic waste at your office.
Have a Carbon Neutral Audit
If you're already closer to being a pro at plastic-free living, you can also have someone come in to audit your workplace for even more ideas on how to have a carbon-neutral office space.
Everything from using locally sourced materials (saves on gas) to eliminating single-use plastic bags can help. You may also have your company donate or otherwise contribute to environmental causes or charities to help offset your carbon footprint.
Take The Challenge
For more ways to green up your workplace, you can check out the Plastic Free July website and "Take The Challenge!" Try to commit to one month of plastic free living, and see how your habits can change for a more sustainable future.
Make Plastic Free July a Year-Round Initiative
Making the switch to a plastic-free lifestyle can be a challenge, but there's every reason to keep the green vibes going even after the end of July. Try it out this month to see what eco-friendly habits you can pick up for life.
When you're done greening up your office space, try to tackle the plastics in your home, room by room! Check out some of these tips for going plastic-free at the grocery store.
Even if you're new to the plastic free movement, every bit of plastic waste that you can prevent from entering a landfill helps the Earth! It's okay if you're not perfect at it right away. Over time, continue challenging yourself with new ways that you can get closer to being plastic free.
Have Some Coffee While Saving The Earth
We hope you enjoyed these tips to help reduce your single-use plastic waste at work, and help us make the world a greener place, one cup at a time.
Going plastic free isn’t easy, but hey, coffee helps! Brew a Smile Coffee Werks® plant-based coffee pod and kick off your Plastic Free July Workplace initiative today!
For more sustainability tips and coffee talk, check out our Roasted 2 Composted blog!