According to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the UK generated more than 222 million tonnes of waste last year. We’re living in a disposable society, and this is reflected in our consumption of plastic and paper products.
Waste reduction charity WRAP released research showing the shocking increase in use of plastic materials. The world’s annual consumption has risen from around 5 million tonnes in the 1950s, to almost 100 million tonnes. There is now thought to be around 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean.
Whether you’re a business owner, self-employed, or employee, one of the best places to start is your stationery and supplies cupboard. Take a peek inside right now and you’ll notice just how much plastic and paper you’re getting through, probably without even realising it.
Swap biros for refillable pens
How many times a month do you chew the end of a biro until it cracks, only to chuck it in the nearest bin at the end of the day? All of those discarded biros add up to big stacks of plastic casing. Refillable ink cartridges are much longer lasting, and don’t create extra waste.
Keep it green, keep it on the screen
Connectivity is so advanced that there is now very little need to print most documents. Even forms can be signed digitally now, and cloud storage allows records to be kept where everyone can access them at any time. In real terms, this makes digital storage much more useful than paper printed documents.
Obviously we’re a bit passionate about cloud-based bookkeeping software, too!
If you need to print, source it sustainably
When you need to print, using recycled or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper means that it’s from a sustainable source. Double sided printing can also help conserve resources (and save some money, too).
Business cards, flyers, or packaging can all be a source of hidden plastics. The lamination applied to some paper products is often plastic based, and therefore damaging to the environment. Cotton finishes or vegetable based seals biodegrade much more easily, and still look good.
Note the materials in the notebooks
Chlorine-free paper is less damaging as it breaks down, as well as the soy based inks. Plastic spiral binders contribute to the waste problem so look for ones made from metal, or perfect bound with fabric stitching. Like the promo printing, some notebooks have laminated covers, but alternatives are available!