[EXPLAINER] The plastic free office in Malta - is it possible?


Welcome to 2021 and with the New Year starting for us all TAPP Water Malta is thinking about a plastic free office in Malta.

We researched the best ideas for your office in Malta to aim for a plastic free environment and came up with the following greatideas for your plastic free office.

Benefits

Plastic Free Office on Tappwater Malta

As an individual trying to get senior management interested or as a senior manager trying to get team members involved you may find that focussing on the benefits of a plastic free office in your environment may work wonders. Here are just a few benefits:

  • great pr opportunities
  • saves money
  • encourages health and wellness for employees
  • team building
  • non-profit goal orientated
  • ueful for training and development of individuals and teams

Create a sustainability team

Recruiting a sustainability team made up of volunteers from all levels in your business can really help get engagement and bring out new ideas. This is not a management article but for the team to succeed it will need a team leader, objectives, smart goals and resources.

The team could start off with a plastic or waste audit, find out where you are now before deciding where you may be headed.

KPIs

You probably have KPI's for many parts of your business and so this initiative would also benefit from measurement and review. KPI's also help with educating staff about what the initiative means to your business.

No single use plastic

One of the ideal places to start is an office wide ban on single use plastic of any type. This would incude bottles, straws, cups, plates, cutlery etc.

It is a big place to start, but it is very manageable and the business can facilitate its employees to find it easy to stick to by supplying reusable resources to replace any single use plastic ones.

It may seem a big move, and setting the bar a little lower may be better for your business environment, but you may also consider that doing something radical with adequate preparation also gets everyone onboard with a idea and a focus.

Why not start the year by setting a deadline for the ban on single use plastic to come in, and in the meantime run a few focus groups and exercises to encorage commitment.

No plastic bags

This can be seen as part of the single use plastic ban, but often the plastic shopping bags will creep in anyway. It is also mentioned separately as it is a great opportunity for any firm to create cotton tote bags with branding to offer to all members in the business to use for their shopping.

Lunch boxes

Encoraging staff to use reuseable non-plastic containers for their lunhes will avert the use of considerable amounts of single and multiple use plastic in the office. It may even be possible to use branded stainless steel lunch boxes or bento boxes as they are often known.

A single use plastic ban can include plastc sandwhich bags and wrappers that can be replaced with wax cotton environmentally friendly alternative food wrapping.

Avoid compositble alternative food packaging

Sorry. Not a good option for Malta as this will go into landfill. Composible packaging only works if the waste is processed in an industrial composter and at present (2021) this does not exist in Malta. 

Refill station

Plastic free office refillable bottle tapp water malta

A water bottle refill station is a great way to facilitate averting the use of plastic drinking water bottles. A business can even supply their employees with stainless steel bottles, branded with the company logo for their use.

TAPP 2 TWIST is a perfect water filter for any office attaching to a kitchen tapp in the office kitchen and avoiding any power use whilst supplying fresh filtered water all day long without any plastic bottles in sight. TAPP 2 TWIST is a great money saver wne compared to 19 Litre plastic water bottles delivered in an electric powered refill startion - infact one TAPP 2 Refill costs €18 for 1200 Litres which would cost over €250 if delivered in plastic 19L bottles.

Refillable cups

Refillable coffee cups are great for those staff members who love to bring in their favoirite morning coffee, another opportunity for the company brand to be visible.

Coffee pods

Coffee pods are a plastic polluter. They are not great for recylcing and are highy wasteful. There are eco friendly versions available if your office insists on the office coffee machine but there are also much more environmentally friendly great tasting coffee making methods.

Tea bags

Tea bags often contain plastic in them so great alternatives are non-plastoc tea bags which will be clerly marked as such or loose tea to be made in a tea pot.

Office wide recycling

Encourage office-wide recycling by removing bins from under the desks and setting upcentralised recylcing stations. Correctly and clearly marking all the bins really helps people get the message as does some training and education.

Filtered water carafe in the fridge

For firms accustumed to bringing out the plastic or glass bottles for meetings, filling a caraffe with filtered water and keeping it in the fridge is a delicious and convenient way of having cold water available for your meetings.

Education

You may find that non-compliance with your plastic free initiatives are due just to education and that most people will act responsibly once they know what is expected of them.

Making it a point to educate and encorage first may work better in the long run.

Taking it all home

Whilst not all firms will encourage their employees to take their work home, encroaging employees to start initiatives in their homes that are working well in the office could be beneficial for all. Encouraging staff to tell stories of how these initiaves have helped them, or their children at home and also having family days arround a plastic free office theme can really help.

Incentives

Encouragement, team building and education all hav etheir place but so do incentives. Maybe consider having a target for performance in the plastic free office and  a measurable goal that can be celebrated with an incentive given to staff.

The breakfast club

If you have staff that have been bringing in plastic cups of coffee and a snack to work why not start a breakfast club, where staff come in a little early to enjoy freshly brewed coffee and tea in the office, and maybe some pastries of healthy breakfast? Its a great way to team build and create social bonds and will save the staff money even if organised as a self contributing club.

Other ideas could be to organise a tea day instead of coffee, or even a bake off or have people volunteer to bring in the snacks they make at home in a rota.

In the kitchen

The office kitchen can be a terrible plastic trap or a plastic free zone, either way its a great place to start removing any unused plastic, any single use plastic and ensuring that more sustinable containers are used.

A dishwasher can really help as can a drying rack in addition to making sure the firm supplies everything necessary for employees to avoid single use plastic.

Packaging

As ecommerce grows plastic waste in packaging is becomming a bigger issue. Any firm can start with its own packaging and conduct a plastic audit to see what unnecessary plastic can be removed.

Procurement

Working backwards through the supply chain a plastic audit can be taken to see where more plastic in procurement packaging can be removed. For both pacakaging and procurement the two arch enemies are polystyrene and air filled plastic bags. These are easy to spot and great alternatives exist for both.

Cleaning materials

Your cleaning team can also be encouraged to drop any single use plastic in the cleaning department and use refillable, preferably non-plastoc bottles. This is more than likely a moey saving idea too.

PlasticFreeFriday

Maybe you are unsure where t start or concerned about getting buy in from enough people. Starting a #plasticfreefriday initiative is a low risk way of making a start. It is enough just to get one initiative started and then to let things grow from there. If you do this it is already helping.

The beauty of wood

From recylced pencils to wooden highlighter pens and desk tidies, there are non plastic office consumables available already in the market, it may take some time to search them out but you will find support from suppliers who are willing to provide plastic free alternatives.

Conclusion

Do you have any plastic free office ideas we should add? We look forward to hearing how you make your office plastic free in 2021.

 


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