Plastic water bottles offer the benefits of convenience and portability but that comes at a serious environmental price, one which definitely isn’t worth paying. A UN report published in 2016 stated that more than 300 million tonnes of plastic were produced in 2014 and predicted that this would rise to more than 2,000 million tonnes by 2050. Annual consumption of plastic bottles alone is predicted to top more than half a trillion by 2021. The demand for bottled water is seemingly unstoppable – over 20,000 bottles are purchased each second around the world. All this plastic has to be disposed of somehow and plastic water bottles contribute significantly to the problem.
Different kinds of plastic biodegrade at different rates but the average biodegrading time is 450 years and some kinds of plastic bottles will be with us for more than 1,000 years. The extreme durability of plastic bottles then presents the problem of how to dispose of them. Vast quantities of plastic waste now end up in landfill or in the sea after being dumped and this causes significant environmental problems.
Here are 5 ideas about how to get rid of plastic bottle in the office :
1. Install a sustainable water dispenser
Systems such as Billi’s range of filtered still, sparkling and boiling water dispensers completely eliminate the need for bottled water as employees can have chilled or sparkling water instantly. In addition, Billi products use far less energy and cost less than standard water systems.
2. Give each employee a refillable water bottle
There are many different styles and types of bottles available, including BPA-free reusable plastic bottles as well as glass and stainless steel. Many are available with customisation such as your company logo printed on them and a scheme like this can also be a point of positive PR for your company.
3. Educate employees on the negative effects of water bottle waste
Many people simply aren’t aware of the damage that water bottles can do to the environment and would be horrified if they did know.
4. Incentivise employees for using reusable bottles
Some employers hold inter-departmental competitions with prizes available to whichever department becomes ‘bottle-free’ first.
5. Create a sustainability team
Often schemes like this work best when the ideas come from within your workforce rather than being imposed from the top down. Think about setting up a sustainability team with members drawn from employees in all parts of the organisation, tasked with the specific responsibility of coming up with ideas to further reduce bottled water use.