The second Plastic Waste Makers Index, created by the Minderoo Foundation, reports the world generated 139 million metric tonnes of single-use plastic waste in 2021. This was 6 million metric tonnes more than in 2019 when the first index was released. This number continues to rise, and with EcoWatch Recycling Stats sharing we are producing approximately 400 million tonnes of plastic waste annually. The escalating production of single-use plastics presents severe threats to the environment, ecosystems, and human health and thus underscores the urgency for a robust business sustainability strategy.
National Geographic shares that millions of animals are killed by plastics each year. Plastic pollution has quickly become one of the most pressing environmental problems as we continue to produce disposable plastic products at an alarming rate whilst the Earth struggles to deal with them. We need to move away from single-use plastics so how can businesses avoid and reduce using them? Keep reading as we share the several steps that will help you break up with plastic.
How to avoid single use plastic
Plastic has remained a popular material due to its convenience and simplicity, however, it creates long-term problems. We must take a step back and recognise the implications of single-use plastic waste on the planet. Below are some ways your business can avoid and reduce single-use plastic.
Educate yourself and understand why plastic is a problem
One of the most crucial steps in avoiding and reducing single-use plastic in your business operations is to educate yourself and understand why plastic is an issue. There are many different kinds of plastic, and plastic has lots of negative impacts. Therefore, researching and understanding what qualifies an item as a ‘single-use plastic’ will help you better avoid using them in the future.
Monitor how much virgin plastic your business uses in a month
After you have educated yourself on the different kinds of plastic and the extent of the plastic problem for the planet, it is vital to monitor your plastic use. In other words, get an idea of how much your business uses to gauge an understanding of your company’s plastic consumption as a whole.
Ask your senior leadership teams to start tracking how much virgin plastic is consumed in each department in a month. This kind of tracking gives you greater visibility and enables you to take accountability. You will better understand where to make changes and what alterations you can make.
Create a plan on how to start reducing your single use plastic consumption
The month-long monitoring of your plastic use is an important step in setting the course for your business, initiating a policy of transparency, education, and deplastification. Use these new insights to create a plan on how you can begin to reduce your plastic consumption.
Determine where the changes can be made and begin researching options for making environmentally friendly changes within those areas. Once you set the areas where you should implement changes and source alternatives to single-use plastics, set timelines to ensure you achieve your goals.
According to the UN Environmental Impact Report, just 9 percent of the world’s 9 billion tonnes of plastic has been recycled. What this means is the bulk of our plastic has found its way into landfills where it is washing into our rivers, oceans, and waterways and threatening wildlife and polluting their habitats.
Plastic is accelerating the climate crisis and can severely affect human health. With all this in mind, businesses can take the lead in reducing worldwide plastic use and refusing single-use plastic by looking at their operations and making cuts. To learn more about how you can build a sustainable business or brand, check out our comprehensive courses that allow you to kickstart your journey today.