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Tips for reducing your plastic use

 

Plastic has insidiously crept into every corner of our lives and it’s predicted that a truckload of plastic waste is poured into our oceans every minute. However, thanks to the increased number of documentaries and resources available, such as the Blue Planet series by David Attenborough, plastic pollution has now become a global issue that we are all aware off and one that many of us are looking to change.

There are so many simple ways to use less plastic and all you really need to do is stop and question whether your plastic item is really needed – the answer is probably not! Here are some top tips for reducing the use of plastic in your everyday life:

 

Plastic straws are a definite no-no!

Let’s face it, plastic straws suck. Although plastic straws should technically be recyclable, they aren’t and they’re having detrimental effects on our oceans. Not only can they take up to 200 years to decompose, they pose a huge threat to ocean life and are also incredibly dangerous to birds who often mistake them for food.

So, next time you’re out and buy a drink, think to yourself – do I really need a straw? If the answer’s no, then don’t have one. If you do really need a straw, try out an eco-friendly alternative instead such as paper straws which many restaurants and pubs have already introduced.

Whilst many organisations such as Lonely Whale have already put the anti-plastic straw movement on the map, it’s important to still encourage your local restaurants, pubs and bars to stop adding straws to drinks by default and make customers ask for them instead.

 

Reusable bottles

Did you know that we use over 35 million plastic bottles in the UK every day? What’s even scarier is that only 1 out of 5 of these bottles are recycled correctly. It’s time for change! If you want to cut the amount of plastic you use AND save money, then it’s time to get yourself a reusable bottle instead. Not only are they super-convenient, but they are also incredibly durable so will last you a long time. To help encourage this movement, there are even apps that you can download that share locations near to you where you can refill your water bottles for free!

If you’re a business, why not invest in eco-friendly promotional water bottles and promote your brand? By giving these to employees and prospects, you’ll be discouraging the use of single-use plastic and also benefit from branding on the go!

 

Don’t forget your refillable coffee cup too!

If you rely on a coffee fix in the morning like many of us do, have you purchased a re-useable cup yet? In the UK we currently throw away around 2.5 billion coffee cups every year and only 1% of these cups can be recycled. Crazy right? Purchasing a refillable cup couldn’t be easier with many of the big coffee shops such as Costa and Starbucks selling them and offering a discount on your coffee each time you bring your own cup in – it’s a win-win!


Bring your own shopping bags

The majority of plastic bags take a huge amount of energy to manufacture, transport across the country and recycle. They don’t break down in landfill sites and overtime release dangerous energy chemicals but yet they are one of the most common types of litter on land. Although, since we introduced the charge for plastic bags in England, we’ve seen a whopping 85% drop in the use of plastics bags – yippee! To keep this number falling, invest in a foldaway bag that can be placed in your normal everyday handbag – convenient and eco-friendly!

There is an endless range of environmentally friendly shopping bag alternatives including bags made from natural jute with cotton webbing and rope handles; and many promotional items too for your business!


Bring your own cutlery

It’s happened to all of us when you’re out in public and you decide to grab a quick bite to eat but the only cutlery options available are plastic! Carry around your own cutlery, even if it’s just a fork so that you always have something in your bag to avoid giving in to the dreaded plastic cutlery. If you have to use plastic, don’t throw it away once you’re finished with it, give it a clean and re use it. If you’re feeling creative, why not try getting your own spork?!

 

Foil over clingfilm

In simple terms: foil can be recycled, cling film can’t. If you make regular lunches to take to work or even just need to wrap your food up to keep it fresh, always try to use foil instead as this is much nicer for the environment. When you’re finished with it, remember to stick it in the recycling bin! Alternatively, use a lunch box which can be used over and over again.

 

Glitter – sparkle and be guiltfree

Although there’s a huge sense of fun and joy about using glitter (and all things sparkly for that matter) there’s a sad reality that glitter is, well, awful for the environment. It’s made from such a small size of plastic which is part of the ever-growing ‘microplastic’ problem. In summary, when glitter is washed down the drain, it’s consumed by fish, plankton and birds and then it collects in their stomachs and causes the animals to die or instead, can make its way up the food chain and end up on our plates. Yuck!

But don’t worry, we can still rock up to festivals with glitter-covered bodies thanks to all the eco-friendly options available. Check out eco glitter fun for some inspiration.

 

If part of your 2020 goal is to become more environmentally friendly, take a look at our sustainable purchasing solutions to help you meet all your CSR targets. We also have a huge range of eco-friendly office supplies and promotional items too.

How to make your business more sustainable in 2020

How to make your business more sustainable in 2020

How to make your business more sustainable in 2020

I’m sure we’d all agree that we could be greener and small changes can have a huge impact on our environment especially for a business or manufacturer. As more and more of us understand the importance of corporate social responsibility and the environmental impact that operational and purchasing processes can have on a business, it’s important to consider how you can become more eco-friendly for your company reputation from its customers, employees and stakeholders.

Here are some of the ways you can make your business greener:


Set up a ‘Green Team’

Creating a ‘Green Team’ in the office, or even just allocating a ‘Green Champion’, is a great way to brainstorm new ideas and keep your business becoming more eco-friendly. Empower staff to make important decisions and introduce new initiatives that will encourage all staff and customers to improve their recycling processes. You can even introduce new ‘green policies’ that staff have to abide by such as no plastic bottles in the office or no desk bins. If possible, ensure your Green Team are made up of members from different departments within the business so that you can include different business perspectives. For example, include someone from the operations team to ensure you’re getting the best products as well as a member of the marketing team to discuss how to communicate your green ideas effectively.


Use green products

What do you do once you’ve finished with your used ink pen – throw it in the bin? Probably, because that’s all we’ve ever done. Every year, we fill up landfills with perfectly reusable pens and it’s time to consider stocking up on recycled or reusable stationery instead. Using green stationery will not only help the environment and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill but will save you money and improve your eco-credentials. It may also be worth keeping your office supplies cupboard under management by the designated ‘Green Champion’ who can be sure to see if there’s an eco-alternative or refillable option out there. There are many recycling schemes around which are free of charge and are designed to help make recycling your used batteries, ink and toner cartridges and other items a much easier process.


Clean green

Going green with your cleaning products is also recommended to help improve the health of your cleaning staff and other employees as well as remove harmful toxins from the workplace environment and less harsh chemicals going into our water systems.


Review your waste

Whilst we appreciate that this isn’t particularly the most appealing job to be done, reviewing your waste is an effective way to understand exactly what your business is using and what is being thrown away. Your waste provider will probably have a portal that you can log in to and see the split of recycling and waste to landfill.  This should give you a good indication of any changes that need to be made or new policies that should be introduced. For example, if there are a lot of plastic cups in the bin from the water cooler, replace the cups with eco-friendly and biodegradable versions. We also suggest doing this regularly, such as once a month to measure the success and impact you’re making.   Alternatively, why not consider mains filtered water?


Challenge suppliers or use sustainable suppliers

Getting access to more eco-friendly products can be as simple as asking your existing suppliers to provide a more environmental service or product range or even ask to see their CSR Policy. Just like you, there will be many other businesses asking suppliers the same questions so don’t be afraid! If your current suppliers don’t offer any green products or if they’re not looking to be more environmentally friendly, start looking for other sustainable providers instead.

In the meantime, it’s also important to review what you’re currently purchasing and if there are any internal or external changes that can be made which will quickly improve your eco-credentials. For example:

  1. What type of packaging are you using to send out to customers? Is it recyclable?
  2. Do your delivery vans comply with ULEZ standards?
  3. Are you using single-use plastic void in boxes?
  4. Do you have centralised waste bins in the office or warehouse?
  5. Do you recycle your office equipment?
  6. Are you using recycled stationery and office supplies products?
  7. Do you recycle your paper?
  8. Do you re-use packaging?

 

Introduce #GreenChallenges

Green challenges can be a fun way of encouraging your employees to be more environmentally friendly. For example, you could challenge your staff to go for a month without using any plastic eating utensils, and then reward those who complete the challenge by offering small (and perhaps even eco-friendly) prizes! Our eco-friendly promotional gifts catalogue is a great place to start looking at prize ideas.

 

Make the office greener (literally!) 

Bringing shrubs and plants in your building can massively help improve the air quality around your organisation which is essential for your employees. In addition, this will also help your business look a lot more attractive visually and there is only little maintenance required for looking after them. Bringing more nature into the office means more oxygen is produced and creates a happier space for your employees to work in.

Take a look at how Quills can help with your Eco Purchasing and CSR targets by getting in touch with our friendly team who are more than happy to help.

Tips for a Greener Christmas

Brits love Christmas. After all, it is the season to be jolly! Christmas is great for spending time with loved ones, exchanging gifts with family and friends as well as indulge in way too much food! But as much as we don’t want to be bar humbug on Christmas celebrations, we have to realise that it has a huge negative effect on our planet.

Did you know that the amount of waste we throw out as a nation would fill 450,000 double-decker buses? And every Christmas, the amount of waste produced in the UK increases by 30%! The good news, however, is that there is still time to get prepared for a ‘Green Christmas’ and all you have to do is follow our top tips for celebrating the season whilst still caring for our planet.

Recycled Christmas Cards

There’s always a sense of excitement when a card comes through the door, and nothing gets you more in the Christmas spirit than a beautifully designed Christmas card with a genuine, heartfelt message. However, some Christmas cards from shops can be expensive and non-recyclable which can quickly cause your bin to overflow once the festive season is over. Instead, we would suggest opting in for cards that are made from recycled paper and from verified sustainable sources.

That’s where Quills can help. We have a huge range of promotional Christmas Cards, most of which are made on FSC stock paper so they can be recycled in the new year. Not only can you choose a gorgeous design, but you can also personalise it with your own branding and really show your customers and employees your appreciation. What’s even better is that with every Christmas card order, a 10% donation will be made to a charity of your choice and for 2019 this includes a brand-new tree planting charity! Have a look at our 2019 Christmas Card brochure.

Wrapping paper & Tape

We understand that sparkly and coloured wrapping paper helps make your presents look nicer, but there are lots of paper that cannot be recycled, including:

• Wrapping paper that contains foil or is metallic
• Wrapping paper with glitter on it
• Wrapper paper that has a texture to it

There are lots of environmentally friendly wrapping paper options out there and these are simple papers made using fibres such as hemp or you could go for paper made from recycled content.

In addition, be cautious (and dare we say stingy) with the amount of tape that you use to finish off your presents. On average, each year we use around 40 million rolls of polypropylene sticky tape to wrap our presents. By not using plastic tape, or by opting to use eco-friendly tape alternatives, more wrapping paper can be reused and recycled for another year.

Christmas trees

You may think that having a plastic tree is eco-friendly because you can re-use them every year, but real trees are definitely the more sustainable option. The British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA), estimates that we bin six million Christmas trees each year. These plastic trees are made from petroleum products and use up resources in both the manufacture and shipping. When these trees are no longer wanted, they are sent to landfills where the plastic content makes them last forever.

Real trees are a great sustainable alternative as they are grown on tree farms and new trees are always being replanted. Some trees, if kept in water, can be re-planted outside after Christmas – Santa would love this too!

Food

This is a simple one – only buy what you need. As a nation, we throw a lot of food away due to poor meal planning and simply buying too much. In 2018, shockingly more than 4.2 million Christmas dinners were scrapped into the bin. FYI, this means that there was enough gravy down the drain to fill an entire Olympic sized pool. Consider how you can re-use any leftover foods before throwing it away. Think of all of the Turkey sandwiches you can have?

Gift wisely

Christmas gifts don’t have to cost the earth – after all, it’s the thought that really counts. Deviate away from the typical socks and aftershave present and give something a little different and sustainable this Christmas. We have a huge range of eco-friendly promotional gifts including cups, bags, notepads, bottles and more so that you can give something more personal and unique this year. Take a look at our brochure here.

An environmentally friendly Christmas doesn’t mean you need to be a stooge – it’s simply the smaller day to day things that can make a huge difference. At Quills, we have a huge range of eco-friendly products including recyclable tape, paper, cutlery and catering supplies to help get you prepared for a greener Christmas and some fantastic eco promotional corporate gifts.
Get in touch with one of our friendly team members today to see how we can help you.

5 Ways to Reduce your Business’ Carbon Footprint

In June, the UK became the first major economy to pass a law requiring net-zero emissions by 2050.

So, what steps can be taken to do this effectively?

No matter what size your business is, there are big and small changes that can be implemented to help the UK reaches its 2050 target.

Here are 5 ways to reduce your Business’ carbon footprint:

1. Waste Management

Zero waste is more than just a buzzword nowadays, instead, it’s become something a lot of people strive towards. Ultimately, it’s clear that cutting out waste would definitely go a long way in helping the environment, and there are a number of things that can be put in place to begin doing this. Bear in mind it’s not feasible to go completely zero waste all in one go, but businesses can gradually reduce their production of landfill rubbish by dealing with waste in a more environmentally responsible way.

Recycling is a great green initiative, but it’s only really effective when there’s a good scheme and system in place. Starting with basic paper and card rubbish, arguably the most visible of office waste, and then moving into other materials, is more effective than dealing with everything in one go. With this in place, it’s simply a question of having well labelled and visible bins.

However, reducing and reusing are ultimately the most effective steps for a business who wants to become zero waste. Plastic waste often finds itself at the forefront of discussions surrounding climate change, and for good reason. The confusion and difficulties surrounding plastic recycling means we often fail to do it, and consequently, only 9% of plastic is recycled. This is why we’re seeing more initiatives encouraging the ban (or at least the severe reduction) of single-use plastic – something businesses can easily support too. If your office has a canteen, phasing out the use of plastic cutlery and straws in favour of metal ones is a simple but effective way to reduce landfill waste. Likewise, encouraging staff to replace disposable plastic bottles with reusable ones is another small but important way of reducing your carbon footprint.

Quills Secure Data Destruction service can support your businesses recycling and waste management strategies. We can review your current arrangements and propose a tailored compliant solution to match your budget, needs and most importantly, environmental targets. Simply click here to find out more.

2. Travel & Transport

Travel and transport are the most talked-about carbon footprint contributors. Travelling for business, particularly flying, is well established to have a substantial impact on the environment. But the good news is, we live in a society with a number of great alternatives available to ensure your business isn’t hindered by distance. Of course, utilising public transport for closer trips is always a good option, but you should also consider video conferencing in place of flying long distances. Not only will this cut down emissions, but you’ll also find it cuts down your company’s travel costs.

That said, when it comes to company transport, there’s quite a lot to consider. Not only are the commutes of your employees an important factor, but it’s also worth looking at the fuel consumption related to the transportation of your company’s goods and services. Green initiatives like cycle-to-work schemes can inspire more eco-friendly methods of staff commuting. At Quills, for example, we use new vans which are all low emission and comply with ULEZ standards. We also plan our delivery routes every day to ensure the lowest cumulative mileage and maximum fuel efficiency.  For your outsourcing needs, courier services such as Gophr offer a greener choice with their optimised system of pairing vehicles to deliveries depending on the size and weight of the consignment. A programme like this ensures a large van isn’t used when a bicycle will do, and as such, provides a much eco-friendlier service.

3. Energy

It’s an inconvenient fact, but energy consumption is one of the biggest environmental impactors, particularly for business. Lighting, heating, powering appliances, web hosting – these are all fossil fuel burning activities that can be easily overlooked when it comes to accounting for a company’s carbon footprint. The solution to this doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul in office operations. As the days get darker, proper lighting becomes even more important. Simply switching to more energy-efficient lights with an automatic shutdown or dimmer option is a great solution that will have a lasting impact on your office’s carbon footprint, as well as on your energy bill.

There’s no need for your efforts to stop at lighting changes. In the future, you’ll find increasingly more companies migrating to green web hosting services, like GreenGeeks or DreamHost, who consciously make use of eco-friendly initiatives to lessen their overall environmental impact. By utilising these sorts of options for your web hosting needs, you can start to combat the CO2 emissions of your internet use.

4. Sustainable Supply Chain 

A proportion of a business’ carbon emissions is found within its supply chain. Any goods a company purchases – stationery, paper, computers, food etc – all come with a carbon footprint associated with their respective production and delivery. There is no easy way of accounting for the CO2 emissions at every step in the supply chain of every item bought for your office, but more often than not, a business can become greener simply by being eco-conscious and opting for overall more sustainable suppliers.

As a stationery and office supplies supplier, we continuously look for eco-friendly alternative products to provide for our customers. We have recently launched a new environmentally friendly promotional merchandise range which enables businesses to provide exciting and unique branded gifts such as pencils made from recycled money, pens made from CD cases and sustainable cups made from bamboo plant fibres – see the full range here.

5. Plan and Engage

The best way of ensuring the successful implementation of eco-friendly initiatives is by having a comprehensive and feasible plan in place. In order to do this, however, it’s important to know which areas are in need of the biggest improvement. The most logical starting point is to understand how substantial your business’ carbon footprint is right now. By combing through your latest energy and water bills, you should be able to gather a fair picture of your biggest areas of consumption, enabling the setting of realistic targets.

However, a business can only effectively reduce its carbon footprint if it has support from both above and below. This is why engagement is also important. After all, these recommended steps can only be successfully implemented if employees adhere to them. Introducing eco-friendly measures alongside an explanation to your staff as to why these changes are happening, will make them more likely to be effective. Likewise, actually getting your employees involved with going green through competitions or incentives will work wonders in ensuring any green initiatives are respected and followed.  It’s important to remember, there’s no need to bombard your company with hundreds of go-green schemes. When properly implemented, even small changes will result in worthwhile reductions to your business’ carbon footprint. For more environmentally friendly tips, head over to Quills eco-tips page.

If you have any questions about Quills recycling or waste management service or would like to receive a free consultation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at hello@quillsuk.co.uk.