Plastic. It’s a hot topic right now. Kick-started in the mainstream media by the BBC’s Blue Planet 2, hardly a week goes by now without another headline image showing our oceans and beaches being overrun with plastic debris.

It’s never good to see resources being wasted – let alone something that can be widely recycled. It’s worse when you see the damage that our waste can cause to ecosystems and wildlife. But there’s good news. This focus on plastic is having an impact. 

In Scotland, steps are being taken to reduce reliance on single-use products and protect our natural environment. For example, a ban on the manufacture and sale of microbeads came into force in 2018. And we were the first country in the UK to ban plastic-stemmed cotton buds. Other items, including cutlery, plates and food and drink containers made of expanded polystyrene, will be banned or restricted by July 2021.

At a local level, Glasgow City Council will no longer provide plastic drinking straws in its museums, sports centres, offices, schools or city chambers (people who ask for one, will receive an eco-friendly alternative instead). This small change alone will prevent tens of thousands of plastic straws going to landfill every year.

Interestingly, it was campaigning by local primary school children that inspired Glasgow City Council to switch to more eco-friendly options. And these changing consumer attitudes are not being lost on businesses either.  

Iceland has led the big retailers by committing to eliminate plastic packaging from all its own-brand products. Other retailers are now making similar pledges, such as Selfridges, which has stopped selling single-use plastic bottles of carbonated drinks. 

The actions of big businesses are major steps along the way to tackling the plastic problem. But it’s not just the national brands that can make a difference. If you’re passionate about reducing the plastic waste that your business creates, there are lots of things you can do to make an impact too.

To help your business take action Resource Efficient Scotland has written a new guide: ‘12 ways your office can help tackle the plastic problem’. The FREE guide shares a range of no and low-cost actions your business can take now to reduce plastic in your workplace. 

Get started now by downloading your guide here.