Updated: Jul 9
Earth Month may have come and gone but has your office thought about how to participate in Plastic-Free July?
Eco-conscious businesses know that incorporating sustainable practices isn’t done just one month out of the year - it’s an ongoing process that requires intentionality behind every decision. Encouraging workplace sustainability can be woven into any business's fabric, but it requires some strategic planning.
Plastic-free July can be a simple place to start as it targets a specific area of waste reduction, and practices can be adopted quickly for “easy-wins”. This annual month-long challenge raises awareness of the everyday consumption of plastics and promotes alternatives to single-use products. Many of which apply to daily office operations.
Here are some ideas to advocate for in your workplace this month (and onwards):
1. Swap out plastic water bottles for reusable bottles or mugs
While it may look great to see a fridge stocked full of water and juices, encourage the office to bring their own reusable bottles or mugs which can be refilled throughout the day from a bulk source.
2. Switch to compostable coffee pods or biodegradable/reusable tea bags
Coffee machines that use coffee pods are an office’s best friend, but the environment’s worst enemy. Luckily, many companies now offer their single-use capsules in biodegradable alternatives. Check out Muskoka Roastery Coffee’s certified 100% compostable coffee pods. Their company actively funds sustainable initiatives within the local community.
Tea drinkers can also avoid microplastics found in many of the standard tea bags by switching to biodegradable or reusable ones. Your Green Kitchen offers a set of 3 reusable cotton tea bags made from organic and sustainably-sourced materials, including a bamboo balancing stick.
3. Pack lunches and snacks
Challenge the team to waste-free lunches and avoid takeaways in disposable plastics. With single-use food packaging being a major contributor to Canada's waste problem, reusable containers are ideal ways to pack healthy lunches and snacks.
These BPA-free silicone food storage bags from EcoKitchen are leak-proof (slide closure), durable - microwave and freezer safe - and a sustainable alternative to paper or plastic sandwich bags.
4. Bring reusable utensils
Busy professionals don’t always have time to make packed lunches and buying meals is often a convenient option. Reduce plastic cutlery waste by bringing or reusing what you already have. With new Canadian legislation banning single-use plastics as early as 2023, now is a great time to encourage employees to BYOC (Bring Your Own Cutlery).
Whether you’re packing these from home or considering buying an eco-friendly set, taking your own utensils to work makes it easy to say no to those takeaway ones. Zero Waste MVMT’s travel bamboo utensil set has everything needed to be kept handy, including a biodegradable fork, spoon, knife, chopsticks and a straw + cleaner brush, and a pouch to roll up and take with you anywhere.
5. Equip your office kitchen and washrooms with refillable soap dispensers
Hand washing is one of the simplest ways to protect yourself and those around you. It’s a must before and after anything you do to eliminate germs and to ensure proper hygiene. With the country back to pre-pandemic days and many offices back in person, it is essential to ensure that the kitchen and washroom are a safe place for you and your staff.
Restock soap in the office with the Bare Home's 3L refillable box to help eliminate single-use plastics.
6. Use QR codes to replace paper
Go paperless. In a world where the use of cell phones is becoming our daily planner, it is easier to ditch paper and do tasks using mobile phones. This is where the QR code becomes very handy. QR or quick response codes are an easy way to get information across electronically, right in the palm of your hand.
For your next company event or office communication, instead of handing out paper flyers and brochures, try uploading the information to a QR code that attendees can scan to learn more.
7. Partner with eco-friendly suppliers
Reducing waste at the workplace extends to your company’s purchasing practices. Review company procurement procedures and reduce waste by examining your suppliers as well.
Request for plastic-free packaging, or as little as possible
Opt to partner with companies who offer reusable solutions and sustainable alternatives to plastic
Source low-impact office supplies from companies like Montreal’s Onyx+Green
Choose to work with local businesses to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping
Reuse packaging received from suppliers, like cardboard boxes and bubble wrap
Refer to this handy list of companies to help your workplace go green.
8. Give eco-friendly corporate gifts
Celebrating achievements and employee milestones often comes with gift cards or gift baskets wrapped in cellophane or filled with products wrapped in plastic. Good Earth Gifting - a Toronto-based corporate gifting company is on a mission to make sustainability accessible to all businesses and individuals alike.
To cut down on plastic usage, everything they do is intentional as listed in their 3 pillars of sustainable practices. Products are carefully selected from local Canadian partners, who share similar values and are committed to eco-friendly operations. Packaging is compostable, from the Kraft boxes and filling to the seed cards, Kraft tape and ribbon. Business Operations prioritize giving back to the planet and community through their Pay-It-Forward program, which supports non-profits in rebuilding Canadian forests and oceans.
Their Customize a Gift option inspires greener giving by letting you choose what goes into each gift box, making it uniquely tailored to the recipient’s preferences.
It’s no secret that a sustainable workplace can improve employee productivity, and this article only touches on one aspect of waste reduction. If you’re looking for more ways to improve your office’s environmental impact, this FREE workbook is a great place to start building sustainability into your company’s strategic business planning.
Searching for more environmentally-friendly gifts? Shop our curated gift boxes. Good Earth Gifting is a sustainable corporate gifting platform that aims to educate individuals about eco-friendly initiatives, support local Canadian businesses, and inspire gifting for the good of the Earth. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to join the conversation!
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