The world's fight against plastic is an issue that can no longer be ignored, shrugged off or turned a blind eye to. The situation has become out of control, seeing the world's rubbish being dumped in landfills and ending up in mother nature's territory, from parks and rivers to forests and oceans. It is however, something which can be improved upon if we all worked together to improve it.
Since 1950, 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic was disposed of, with only 9% of that being recycled, the rest left for landfill and to fall where it may within our natural environment (yes, including that David Attenborough clip).
One Example of Plastic Toxicity
A study was conducted in the Great Barrier Reef as there were an unusual amount of turtle fatalities, so needed to be investigated. Researchers performed an autopsy on a range of deceased turtles, and as you may have guessed, over 80% of the sample were killed due to plastic poisoning. The reason for this is that turtles like to feed on jellyfish, and to them, plastic bags and jellyfish look identical. It's studies such as this which drive MEDASSET's motivation to stop this from happening.
When you hear of situations like this you may think it's a case of "out of sight out of mind", "these places are thousands of miles away so it's nothing to do with me", "I don't live near water so there's nothing I can do". The issue with plastic waste is that it travels much further than anyone can know, you may think disposing of plastic into your bin is enough but you can never be sure where it will end up, and what it destroys in its path.
There are a few things that businesses in particular can do to reduce plastic use...
1) Audit your Plastic
By doing checks on your business' use of plastic, it allows for an understanding of where plastic is being used, how much is being thrown away, and exactly what type of plastic is being consumed. Do you provide plastic packaging with your products? Does your company have a high usage of plastic bottles? Are plastic files being used unnecessarily? These are just a few questions you can go through to determine how much your business may rely on plastic, where it could function exactly the same just by making a few changes, of which are discussed below.
Utilising the re-use option when cutting down on plastic is a great one as it doesn't require huge operational or behavioural changes. This can be from simple things such as encouraging employees to use reusable water bottles and hot drinks' containers, or reusing plastic stationary such as files and boxes. The cleaning of your business site also has a responsibility for conscientious plastic use as this operation often requires many different bottles of products to provide a thorough job. If you use a cleaning company they should already be aware of the importance of this and will have already implemented plastic limiting operations into the service they provide. However, if you do not use a cleaning company, you should make sure you research the products you buy to ensure they are made with biodegradable components and have a minimal impact on the environment.
3) Seek Alternatives
Alongside reusing items, you can also seek alternatives. For example if you use a lot of plastic bags and files, perhaps try using paper bags and paper files. They all achieve the same purpose, but one provides more sustainability. During your plastic audit you can have this in mind, to identify which plastic use can be replaced with other, more sustainable, materials.
4) Recycling Bins
This may seem like a simple suggestion, but by providing an appropriate amount of recycling bins across your site it encourages more organised disposal of plastics, and has more of a chance of ending up in a place where they can be broken down and removed effectively.
WINNS Services takes environmental responsibility incredibly seriously and we ensure that this is applied to everything we do, from the suppliers we use to the service we provide. We offer a range of cleaning services that allows businesses to run efficiently and effectively with low negative environmental impact. Our company has been established for over two decades and pride ourselves on exceeding expectations. For more information about WINNS services or to book our services, please contact us on 01702 719100.