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Workplace kitchens

Your workplace’s kitchen can be a great place to start when it comes to reducing plastic. There are some quick and easy (but impactful) changes you can make.

What you can do

Choose to refuse single-use plastics in your workplace’s kitchen.

How you can do it

To begin with, do an inventory of all the single-use plastic items found in your workplace’s kitchen. You may be surprised by just how many there are! These include plastic cutlery, plastic plates, bowls and cups, bin bags, biscuit packets, teabags, and water bottles. Keep this list for future reference – in a few weeks/months it may serve as a reminder of all the impact you’ve had.

After your list is complete, start by choosing one item and thinking of an easy alternative. There’s plenty of information on our website about reusable alternatives, or a friend, colleague or family member may have ideas.

Try and avoid replacing single-use plastics for single-use cardboard, bamboo or “compostable plastic”. Instead, swap items for reusable alternatives, such as ceramic mugs, stainless steel cutlery and glass cups.

Once you’ve got everyone used to one change, start the conversation about picking another item. Through this method, you can slowly make your way towards a plastic free kitchen at work!

Taking the next steps

If you want to drive change in your workplace kitchen even further, there are a few things you can do.

One great idea is adding a compost bin to your kitchen. Make sure you create a roster to ensure it’s emptied on a regular basis (and not always by you!). Some workplaces have staff take food waste home for their own composting, and some set up a compost bin outside of the office if there’s room.

You can also set up a collection point to help colleagues separate soft plastics (bread bags, plastic bags, biscuit wrappers) and periodically take them to a soft plastics recycling location.

It’s worth auditing the bins in the kitchen as well (see our card on bin audits). Get a team together to separate out the contents of each bin, then ensure everyone is aware of what should go into what bin. This may require labelling on the bins, placing signs nearby with explanations, and running an information session.

The impact

  • Reduce hundreds or even thousands of single-use plastic items by making simple switches in the kitchen.
  • Reduce pressure on recycling systems.
  • Reduce unnecessary waste and save precious resources.

More ideas

What others do

Glass of lemonade, bunch of straws and a plastic juice bottle

To find plastic free ideas, take the Plastic Free July challenge

Reusable carry bag, keep cups and bamboo cutlery
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