New research has uncovered that, despite the increasing coverage surrounding single-use plastic and its effects on the environment (particularly in the foodservice sector) only 1 in 7 UK-based businesses are making a conscious effort to reduce the amount of plastic they are using.
The requirement of extra manpower, costs and underappreciating how much impact one business can have all topped the list of reasons for not implementing plastic-free initiatives.
A team at Market Dojo conducted the research, quizzing more than 600 UK-based businesses on their attitudes towards preserving the environment and waste reduction.
Each businesses spokesperson was provided with a list of different environmental initiatives, programmes or incentives commonly implemented, and were asked to state all that their company currently employs. The top 5 currently in place were:
- Business-wide recycling – 74% (of businesses do this)
- Encouraging staff to carpool/cycle to work – 58%
- Cutting back on/eliminating paper in the office – 47%
- Using green cleaning products – 36%
- Recycling technology/furniture – 25%
One of the lowest initiatives selected was found to be ‘Moving towards a plastic-free office’ (14%).
Businesses who said they were moving towards being plastic-free were asked how it was they were trying to achieve this, with the following methods emerging as the most used:
- Using sustainable suppliers – 62%
- Undertaking regular waste audits – 57%
- Banning disposable cups from the office – 52%
- Encouraging minimal packaging throughout our supply chain – 43%
- Using recycled office supplies – 37%
When relevant respondents were asked if they had found themselves spending far more undertaking these initiatives than they had before on their business, 46% said they had noticed costs rising however 89% of them believed that the business would be better off in the long run.
Finally, those who admitted to having a business that was not making moves to become plastic-free were asked why this was the case, with the move requiring extra manpower (57%), the cost associated with these initiatives (53%) and not thinking one company would be able to make a difference (47%) topping the list.
Alun Rafique, co-founder and CEO of Market Dojo commented: “Every single one of us can make a difference if we put in the effort and businesses do have a huge part to play in cleaning up the environment.
“If every business leader made a conscious effort to ban plastic in the office, ensured waste audits were carried out regularly, and shopped around for sustainable suppliers who use minimal packaging, a change could almost immediately become apparent. When it comes to helping the environment, businesses need to lead by example and justify the initial expense with the long term benefits to the greater good.”