C3MD attendees were offered an optional tour of the beautiful Howard County Conservancy grounds following the event.
C3MD gathered for an in-person Conscious Coffee event last week, “Greening Your Business” at the Howard County Conservancy. Declan Murphy, a member of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps and employee at the Howard County Conservancy for the past year, gave a presentation to our group that focused on the problem with plastic waste and the effects it has on the oceans. Declan also offered us some solutions about how we can help the cause.
The Thursday, August 11, morning event was attended by business professionals from the commercial cleaning, tree services, and construction industries, among others. While we all stem from different professions, we also have a common drive — to lead a more environmentally conscious business. Declan shared some startling statistics with the attendees:
- By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.
- The equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic enters the ocean every minute.
- We can’t recycle our way out of this problem. Only 9% of all plastic ever produced has been recycled. Plastics then end up in landfills, lakes, and oceans, or are even burned and enter our air as toxic waste.
While the issue of plastic in our oceans may seem overwhelming, Declan offered some changes businesses can make to help decrease the amount of plastic used – and discarded – every day. He shared a case study where residents of an assisted living facility demanded and received new packaging for their in-room diving – switching from single-use containers to something that can be washed and used again and again.
Six things your business can do right now
1. Instill green habits across your office or your business.
Consider having a contest: a raffle for those who post a picture of their reusable lunch containers or who use an alternative to their single-use cups and bottles. Encouraging green habits among your employees can cause a ripple effect of change.
2. Focus on plastic-free procurement.
Ask your vendors for no-plastic and low-plastic options when it comes to packaging. Even fragile items can be shipped in lower-impact containers.
3. Encourage reusable drinkware.
Offer water stations instead of flats of water bottles to encourage people to fill up their own cups.
4. Make recycling easier.
Terracycle.com offers boxes sent to your location to recycle the materials your city or county does not. Consider getting one for batteries or bulky irregular plastic packaging. When full, simply tape it up and send it back to the company.
5. Shop local, even for stationery or office supplies.
This cuts down on waste from excessive packaging like that which often comes with mailorder supplies. Plus, by shopping local, you’re putting money back into your community.
6. Pledge to go plastic free.
For example, weddings at the Howard County Conservancy are plastic free. You can work towards a plastic-free workspace too by making little changes. One significant change would be providing washable dishes, silverware, and cups, instead of plastic cutlery in the office kitchen for everyone to use (and clean) during the week.
What is your business doing to cut down on plastic? Let us know in the comments!
—with thanks to Tanya Rapacz