It is Plastic Free July!
Is your business considering a Plastic Free Month (or a plastic free week, or even a plastic free day)? Are you looking to swap out a few single-use plastic items in your business?
Here are 10 ideas for plastic-free alternatives to common single use items in ecommerce businesses.
1. Kitchen cutlery, plates and cups: If you stock disposable cups and cutlery in your company kitchen, swap them out with reusables. If your team members often go to fast casual for lunch, consider buying reusable on-the-go cutlery kits they can bring with them so they can so NO to straws, forks, spoons and even to-go containers!
2. K-Cups: Switch to a traditional batch brewing system. If that isn't an option for your business, look into reusable single cup filters instead.
3. Take out containers: Find a few local food providers who are willing to use reusable containers brought in by customers. Provide your team with reusable containers they can take with them when they hit up these restaurants.
4. Energy bar wrappers and other food packaging: Buy bulk foods, and encourage your team to buy bulk foods, wherever possible. Most stores will allow you to bring large glass jars for bulk goods (be sure to tare them first so don't pay for the weight of the jars!). If that isn’t possible for your business, seek out products that are packaged in larger volumes. For example, a large bag of Figgy Pops contains a lot of unwrapped energy balls. Compare that to individually wrapped Clif Bars and you’ll end up with a lot less packaging.
5. Plastic hang tag fasteners: First, consider whether you even need hang tags for your products. Can you eliminate them altogether or simply include a small card with necessary information with the product? If hang tags are necessary, replace the fasteners with string (such as hemp twine). Or use a product information sticker, ideally on a plastic-free Zero Waste Release Liner.
6. Coffee cups: Team members walking into work with a Starbucks cup in hand is a common site at most companies. Hold a July competition. See if your entire team can go coffee-cup free for the month and host a company event if you succeed. Consider purchasing everyone reusable coffee mugs.
7. Water and soda bottles: Install a water cooler and get your team reusable water bottles. Encourage your team to use cans instead of soda bottles (aluminum cans are highly efficient to recycle).
8. Styrofoam: Work with all of your suppliers to eliminate styrofoam packaging in favor of more eco-friendly void fill solutions like 100% recycled packaging paper, recycled newspaper or even old clothes.
9. Plastic bags for packaging: See if you can use discarded items - old clothes or newspapers to wrap and protect your packaging. Or replace plastic bags with paper wraps or paper bags instead. Consider eliminating them altogether. If none of these are possible, switch to 100% recycled plastic bags and reuse incoming protective packaging for outgoing protective packaging whenever possible.
10. Poly mailers: Replace with a paper-based mailer, such as a Paper Apparel Mailer. Or seek out a 100% Recycled Poly Mailer that can be reused, and encourage your customers to reuse - doubling the life cycle of these mailers.
Since a lot of your business's plastic is likely rooted in your packaging strategy (and the packaging of your suppliers), check out our Plastic Free Packaging Resource Center for more tips on how to go plastic-free in these areas of your ecommerce operation.