Using the SHiFT.How platform, this article works through 5 solutions for people looking to reduce their plastic footprint at work. 

The SHiFT.How Platform allows you to sift through hundreds of impactful solutions, and find the ones that best fit you.  

Each solution card includes facts to help users better understand the problem itself, as well as the benefits and challenges of implementing those solutions and the impact they can make in doing so. Using the How, What, Where filters we input Participate, Work, and Avoid,  we generated the following solution cards.

1. Eliminate single-use plastic from boardrooms

In 2018, the IAPCO launched a campaign to raise awareness in industry about the importance of reducing single-use plastic. They ask companies to pledge to take an action towards removing single-use plastic from their meetings.

Over 133 companies with a combined workforce of over 9200 employees have pledged to remove single-use plastic from over 18,660 meetings a year. 

Benefits of this SHiFT: 

  • Encourages businesses to start thinking about their single-use plastic use internally
  • Easy to sign up your company
  • You join a community of companies also publicly taking the pledge

Challenges of this SHiFT:

  • Might require change in company culture and wider company buy in
  • Pledges need to be carefully chosen, as they may be too small to make an impact

Take your pledge today.

2. Supply loose leaf tea instead of tea-bags in the cafe

Tea didn’t always come in tea bags! Why not convince the cafe to return to a more traditional method of brewing and invest in some loose leaf tea. This avoids the plastic found in most conventional tea bags.

Major UK coffee chains including Coffee#1, Benugo, and Boston Tea Party now have a variety of loose-leaf offerings.

Brits drink on average 60 billion cups of tea per year. Imagine the difference if even just half of those cups were brewed using loose leaf tea!

Benefits of this SHiFT: 

  • ​​Arguably tastes better
  • Available in a variety of types and flavours
  • Tea leaves can be put into your compost

Challenges of this SHiFT:

  • Needs investment in strainers or a loose leaf tea pot
  • Major UK coffee chains including Coffee#1, Benugo, and Boston Tea Party now have a variety of loose-leaf offerings.

Find the brand that is right for you!

3. Introduce No Car Mondays

Encourage your co-workers to drive into work less as a way to avoid tyre dust.

Tyres are considered to be one of the most common plastic polluters, but awareness is low. 

A 2017 report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature estimated that tyres account for as much as 28 percent of overall microplastic waste in the world’s oceans.

Tyre dust is released through wear and tear, and ends up in our oceans. 

To reduce the amount of people driving into work, why not introduce No Car Mondays, or Cycle-to-Work Thursdays, to try and encourage the office to use an alternative mode of transport for at least one day a week. 

Benefits of this SHiFT: 

  • Reduces release of plastic particles
  • Better for the planet as reduces your carbon emissions
  • Reduces congestion on the roads

Challenges of this SHiFT:

  • Not a practical solution for everyone

Find out more about reinventing the wheel here.

4. Carry reusable lunch boxes on the go

50% of Brits who are employed full-time say they eat more on-the-go than sit-down meals for lunch. 

Whether you are getting food-to-go, or buying lunch from the office cafe, why not invest in your own reusable container. After seven uses, the reusable container has 74% less impact on the environment than a disposable one.

Whilst single-use containers may seem more convenient, these items that you use for only a few minutes take hundreds of years to break down and, even then, they don’t disappear completely. Bringing a reusable container instead, is a quick and easy solution.

Benefits of this SHiFT:

  • Convenient as you carry with you
  • Durable – no more breakable single-use forks!
  • You can just carry the utensils you use at home – no need to buy a specific set! 

Challenges of this SHiFT:

  • Upfront cost
  • Need to have a sensible solution for carrying and be easy to clean
  • Must remember to take them with you

Find the right one for you.

5. Run your own SHiFT workshop

Why not organise a SHiFT workshop and brainstorm your own bespoke solutions! 

From understanding the plastic problem, exploring different solutions from sea to source and identifying opportunities to take action, SHiFT Workshops are designed to help people find their role in solving marine plastic pollution.

Collaborate with your colleagues and decide on a set of solutions to implement. Whether you decide to create more bike lockers, or run a presentation series on microplastics, delivering a SHiFT workshop gives your colleagues the opportunity to decide on the solutions that work best for your workplace.

Benefits of this SHiFT:

  • Low cost to start
  • Helps individuals identify how they can use their own skills to tackle plastic pollution
  • Engages groups in the range of solutions available
  • Works with everyone from kids to government ministers

Challenges of this SHiFT:

  • A very good knowledge of the solutions available makes this a more effective tool
  • Very large groups benefit from multiple facilitators

Click here for some ideas on how to get started preparing for your workshop

With SHiFT.How, there are now hundreds of solutions available at just the click of your mouse. 

The Platform helps you to understand the crux of a problem and weigh up where your biggest opportunity to make an impact may be. 

We do not need everyone to do everything, but we do need everyone to do something. 

What will your next SHiFT be?

We encourage you to share your actions across social media to inspire others to join you in making a difference in their own lives, communities, businesses and wider world.