The dictionary definition of sustainability is “stewardship of the environment.” In other words, sustainability means taking care of our planet. By definition, sustainability is a vast concept. Since the first humans arrived on earth, sustainability has been practised in some way or another by all civilizations; however, as the human population and consumption continue to increase, our negative impact on the environment sustains us.
In our modern world, the exploitation of natural resources is unsustainable. The environmental effects are seen in deforestation, soil erosion, habitat loss, overfishing and many more. Global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions directly results from the unsustainable use of fossil fuels like coal or oil.
The use of plastic also plays a negative role in sustainability. You may be thinking that plastic is sustainable because it’s made from petroleum. Still, the truth of the matter is that using one single-use water bottle for just 24 hours has an environmental impact equivalent to giving up your car for five weeks!
Plastic is not sustainable, and it’s time we all say goodbye to single-use plastics for good! So how can you commit yourself and your business to sustainability? One of the easiest and fastest ways is to cut down on the use of plastic.
Below are some tips on how to commit your business to sustainability in the form of cutting down on single-use plastics. Commit yourself and encourage your employees or staff members to do the same!
Here are some ways you can cut down on plastic usage and make your business more sustainable :
Make a list of all the products you have in your business that use plastic packaging and find alternatives for them.
You can do this by:
- looking for alternatives at your local grocery store and online (you can find many options with a simple Google search or on the internet)
- Make them yourself. For example, if you use plastic food wraps, make your own out of cloth, replace plastic bags with paper ones, or use recyclable packaging for your products when possible.
- Reduce the amount of packaging you use in general by repackaging or reusing boxes and cartons that are already used to ship other items.
Implement sustainability measures in your business by reducing, reusing, and recycling.
You can do this by:
- Reduce the amount of waste you produce by asking customers to return used items like water bottles or package boxes for reuse. For example, if your business is in a café setting with plenty of take-out food orders try putting up signs that ask people to bring their reusable containers when they want to order food to go.
- Reuse is a great way to cut down on waste and save money at the same time by using items again after they have been used for their initial purpose, so consider buying office supplies in bulk or getting refillable bottles of soap from your local grocery store instead of purchasing them new every single time you run out.
- Reduce the amount of waste you produce by recycling as much as possible. For example, if you use plastic for packaging your products consider buying recycled paper and cardboard instead to cut down on waste production. You can also recycle used items like glass bottles or aluminum cans to reduce what ends up in landfills every day.
- Create a recycling program at work to encourage sustainability among employees (and even customers!) by making it easy for people to recycle their waste products like paper, plastic containers, tin cans etc.
If you have a physical store, you can put up signs around your store explaining why you’re doing this and how you’re trying to make a difference. If your business is mainly online, you can add a page specifically about your business’s commitment to sustainability.
You can do this by:
- This will encourage your customers as well as let them know that sustainability is important to you and they can contribute too by bringing their reusable bags, containers or bottles every time they come back!
- For example: “We use recyclable paper bags instead of plastic ones which are not biodegradable. We also encourage our customers to bring their reusable bags, containers and bottles every time they come back!”
- This will help your business engage with sustainability.
These simple changes can go a long way in helping the environment sustain us, so we humans have a sustainable future for generations to come.
Reducing plastic is not enough to make your business 100% sustainable. If you want to know more ways you can make your business more sustainable apart from cutting down on plastic, take a look at our article: 8 easy steps to make your brand more sustainable.
We would love to hear about your sustainability efforts; please let us know if you are currently working on or looking into reducing your impact on our environment: firstname.lastname@example.org.