Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, with its effects negatively impacting human health, wildlife and our climate. Although 92% of UK adults say plastic pollution is a concern, forecasts predict that it will grow by a further 60% by 2030 and treble by 2050. With most aware of the issue and recent customer trends pointing to spending habits being linked to brands’ commitments, many businesses have now pledged to reduce their plastic footprint and help build a better future for our planet.
Going plastic free or close to it can seem daunting to businesses of any size, but it can also bring many additional benefits such as cost savings, improved efficiency, better reputation, more engaged employees and increased sales. But how can your business get on the road to plastic-free?
Conduct a plastic audit
Like most things in business, you should start by taking stock of your current situation. An audit will help you identify where and how much plastic is being used in your business, and should include your operations, staff habits and your suppliers. This will help you figure out which areas are the most problematic when it comes to plastic, any quick wins that might not need as much work to fix and where the biggest impact can be made.
Eliminate single-use plastic
Not all plastics are equal, and the worst kind of plastic is single-use plastic because it only gets to be used once before it is thrown away and left to pollute the environment for hundreds of years. Common single-use plastic include cutlery, cups, bags, bottles, packaging, straws, etc, and some have already been banned across the country to help tackle the issue at a large scale.
To eliminate single-use plastics from your business look at replacing them with reusable or compostable alternatives. To help engage your employees or even customers, you could look to create branded refillable bottles, travel mugs, reusable bags or containers. Some businesses have even gone as far as banning employees from bringing in single-use plastics in an effort to eliminate their use faster.
Make the most of recycled or recyclable plastics
What makes suppressing plastic difficult is that modern society has come to rely on it in plenty of ways, and even today it can be hard to find a plastic-free alternative to some use cases. Where it is impossible to avoid plastic, there may be an eco-friendlier version available in the form of recyclable materials or materials created from already used and recycled ones, which will help reduce pollution by decreasing the demand for brand new plastic. You can identify recycled or recyclable plastics by checking labels and packaging and contribute to their use by following recycling guidelines.
Empower employees and customers
Going plastic-free takes time and effort, and it is important to educate those around you as to why it is important. By taking steps to communicate your goals and achievements internally and externally you can help spread the word about the good work your business is doing and inspire your teams and customers to join in.
The Ultimate Way
At Ultimate Finance we ensure that we constantly monitor and review our working habits and their impact on the planet to help empower our business and our teams to do good for our planet.
To help eliminate single use plastic we provided our people with refillable water bottles, travel mugs, and raffia bags which have been very well received by employees and customers alike and have helped reduce the introduction of plastic bottles and cups in our offices.
We have also undertaken an environmental conscious review of our supply chain to identify how we can remove plastic where possible, and are currently planning for new recycling points in each of our offices across the country to make it easier for our teams to offer a new life to recyclable materials.
Funding solutions to help keep your business moving
Taking steps to go plastic-free may incur some upfront costs, or you might find that alternatives to single-use plastic can decrease your margins to begin with, but the investment will be offset by the long-term savings and benefits that eliminating plastic from your business can bring.
To help protect your cashflow, you could consider accessing funding through asset-based lending, where funds can be advanced against your receivables (via Invoice Finance), plant, machinery and vehicles (Asset Finance), property (Bridging Finance) or a combination of them (Structured Finance).
At Ultimate Finance we have over 20 years’ experience of tailoring the right funding solutions that meet the unique needs of a business and have already provided over £10bn to UK businesses. Find out more about why thousands of businesses have already made us their funding partner of choice.