Plastic Free Office - Our Top Tips
How we reduced the plastic in our office and workshop
Once again our plastic free guru Claudi is helping us shed some light on simple ways we can reduce our reliance on plastic, this week she is shining a light on a place where we all spend a lot of our time, the office. Be on the look out for A Cup Of Tea discount code in this blog as well! Over to you Claudi!
Over to Claudi!
The thing that instantly appealed to me when I applied to work at the Beeswax Wrap Co. was of course the beautiful product itself and the fact that the ingredients were organic and locally sourced wherever possible. The fact that I live only four miles from the workshop helps too, oh, and the fact that Carly & Fran are on a mission to eradicate unnecessary disposable plastic from their lives!
One of the areas that we wanted to make plastic-free was our office. As always, this is easier said than done. Office and packaging supplies of all types seem to be made of plastic or are sold wrapped in plastic, including supplies for coffee and lunch breaks, for doing the washing up and for cleaning the office. Our aim is to reduce our landfill waste to one bin bag a moth across the business. We still have some way to go but we have introduced some amazing swaps to avoid plastic that I wanted to tell you about.
Alternatives to Plastic Bags
1. Packaging - Instead of plastic bags, we have our own re-useable kraft paper shipping bags with lots of plastic-free advice and useful info printed on them. They double up as strong lunch bags for our customers. We are in the process of switching to packaging for our wraps that close without the need for a glue strip. This will save on thousands of little plastic strips that we peel off during packing. To close up larger parcels we use paper parcel tape and wherever possible we re-use packing material and cardboard boxes.
Alternative to biros
2. Stationery - We have refillable fountain pens and good old pencils and metal sharpeners. Picture us with pencils behind our ears, like carpenters... We also use second hand felt tip markers from a local training business and have a stapler that doesn’t use metal staples. Now, I know this is not a plastic swap but it’s so clever that I just had to mention it.
Refillable Tea and Coffee
3. Tea Break - For our tea and coffee breaks we have gone entirely plastic-free. We get loose tea packaged in paper from A Cup Of Tea, they have very kindly given us a 15% A Cup Of Tea discount code for all orders of their 1kg bags of loose leaf tea, just pop to their website and use the code beetea. Our coffee is roasted locally and we return the bag to Michael at Golden Sheep Coffee for refills. Fran gets raw milk for us in a glass bottle from Stroud Micro Dairy – a really fantastic small enterprise. Raw milk is a real treat that I was completely new to, to find out where your nearest milk refill place is check out our Milk Refill Map.
Plastic free lunches
4. Lunch Time - Office lunches are a sight to behold. Carly and Fran gave every employee a stainless steel water bottle and lunch box. We encourage each other to bring a packed lunch (also wrapped in beeswax wraps of course) and for special treats we take it in turns to buy biscuits or cakes from the local bakery, Hobbs, who also don’t mind using our wraps if we buy sandwiches from them. We joined the Refill scheme to encourage customers and visitors to use our kitchen for free tap water refills. Lunches in other offices I have worked can mean a daily mountain of single-use plastic so I am very proud of our work force for creating literally no waste at all. Any food waste is collected for municipal composting.
Plastic Free Cleaning Products
5. Cleaning - For doing the dishes we buy refillable washing up liquid and coconut fibre washing up brushes from our local health food shop (who also sell our wraps as it happens - local connections and collaborations feature quite large in our work life and are very rewarding). To find your local refill shop check out our Plastic Free Shopping Map. We also use steam cleaners and cotton cloths to clean the workshop rather than lots of chemical sprays and single use wipes. We order unpackaged (naked) toilet paper from Green Cane and have it delivered in a large cardboard box to reduce on unnecessary packaging and finally we buy locally made hand soap bars which smell amazing!
The beautiful thing is how the word spreads about these changes. There are several other workshops that we share our kitchen and outdoor space with – people are always curious to see our alternatives to plastic and most of our customers love what we do as they have the environment at heart too. If you work in an office, why not see what swaps you can make?