Each year the world is producing approximately 300 million tons of plastic, 50% of which is for single use purposes, used for just a few moments but on the planet for hundreds of years. This plastic waste is having harmful effects on our environment; causing land, water and air pollution. By reducing plastic waste and cutting out small, everyday plastic use you can make a tangible difference.
At Xero, we are actively reducing our plastic footprint as part of our commitment to positively contributing to environmental sustainability.
Throughout July we will showcase some of our small business customers that are embracing sustainability as part of their business model, share some innovative ways our staff are championing this movement and provide tips on how to reduce plastic waste.
Tips to reduce your plastic footprint
- Carry a reusable coffee cup or flask. Approximately 16 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away every year
- Bring your own bottle. Plastic bottles top the list as one of the most frequently found items on beach cleans globally
- Shop with a reusable bag. Did you know, approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year?
- Say no to plastic cutlery, straws and stirrers that can take 1,000 years to decompose, leaking harmful substances into the Earth
- Stop using tea bags sealed with plastic – opt for loose leaf tea with a tea strainer instead
- Swap chewing gum (made from plastic itself) for plastic-free alternatives, for example
- Take your own container if you’re buying takeaways
- Stop adding to the 80 billion plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles thrown out globally each year by washing with conditioner, shampoo and body wash bars
- Swap cling wrap for beeswax wraps
In the workplace
- Stop collecting business cards and flyers – take a photo of them with your phone instead
- Save the trees by being print smart. In addition to printing only when necessary, use recycled paper and ink cartridges, avoid colour printouts, print two-sided documents and reuse unwanted paper
- Minimise plastic waste by choosing sustainable products
- Reuse stationery, binders and folders
- Share the plastic free message with your colleagues
In your business
- Conduct a waste audit to find opportunities to reduce your carbon footprint. You can start by emptying your bins and recording the contents, for instance
- Encourage good recycling
- Ask your team for ideas on how to reduce plastic in their roles (run a competition to reduce plastic waste)
- Create a recycling centre by providing bins to put returnable bottles, non-returnable bottles, in addition to paper
- Provide real dishes and cutlery
- Make responsible choices by gifting sustainable goods; such as reusable coffee cups, water bottles or recyclable shopping bags
- Request suppliers use less plastic in their packaging
Our Xeros share our commitment to recycling and offer lots of ideas to improve our carbon footprint. Some recent activities include:
- Staff encouraging their peers to prepare food at home and bring in recyclable containers. Container libraries have been set up in office kitchens so that staff can borrow containers to carry or store package free food
- Local teams have been working with suppliers to have catering delivered in reusable containers
- Organic waste bins have been installed to recycle food scraps which in-turn reduces methane, a harmful greenhouse gas, which damages the Earth’s atmosphere.
Read more about Xero’s commitment to the environment, including more details of our recycling efforts at xero.com/socialimpact