How to Minimize Your Company’s Orphan Plastic Footprint

nylon stuck on tree branch

Minimizing your company’s single-use plastics is something that’s imperative to the future of the world as well as the future of your company. Consumer trends show that customers are not only willing to pay more for sustainable products, but that they will actively avoid companies who are unsustainable. This is a trend that will only increase over time.

Therefore, your company must start making sustainable changes now if you want to keep up with market trends of the future. Minimizing plastic waste that may eventually be mismanaged needs to be one of the sustainable choices that your company moves toward. 

But, there’s a reason why single-use plastic has become such a prolific issue. Plastic is inexpensive, easy to produce, and versatile. This makes replacing or removing it to be a difficult task. Furthermore, single-use plastic has been such an integral part of our lives for so long that it can be difficult to think outside of the box to come up with good alternatives.

This is why we’ve put together a short guide suggesting some ways to minimize your company’s orphan plastic footprint for both the short and long term. Here are some things that you can do today.

office plastic

One incredibly simple way that you can minimize your product’s potential to become orphan plastic is to reduce the use of single-use plastics among your employees. Make sure that your employees understand the dangers of single-use plastics, and encourage them to bring reusable lunch bags for their meals, bring their own coffee mugs and water bottles, and otherwise choose to limit their use of single-use plastics in the workplace.

Eliminate single-use utensils, plates, and cups, and supply reusable offerings instead. For the single-use plastics and other disposable items that do find their way into the workplace, create clear recycling areas where employees can easily sort their trash.

More and more companies are adopting sustainable practices internally to the point where it’s nearly expected. Join the movement by making small changes in order to reduce your single-use plastics overall.

Set clear ways to measure your plastic use

measure plastic use

To continue to minimize your plastic waste, you must know how much plastic you use and where that plastic is being used. It’s easy to say that you want to minimize your plastic waste, but in order to properly strategize your minimization methods, you have to first measure exactly how much plastic you are using.

Set clear methods for measuring your plastic use. Over a few months, gauge exactly how much plastic you use, how those plastics are being used, how much of that plastic is single-use, and which plastics could be recycled. This will help you to better understand your company’s plastic use and where you can make adjustments. Once you know how much plastic waste is produced and why, you can develop intelligent and effective strategies to address it.

Audit your supply chains

supply chain

When minimizing your company’s plastic footprint, you have to look beyond what your company is doing. You will need to check your supply chains, too.

Discuss single-use plastic use with your supply chains, and do your research to determine how much plastic waste they produce. Once you’ve determined how much single-use plastic they use, discuss methods to reduce that waste. Engage with them by strategizing some ways to minimize single-use plastics (perhaps opting for less plastic packaging, renegotiating rates for more sustainable products, etc.) and setting reasonable goals. Encourage them to adopt these practices by letting them know that you will move to a supplier that will reach these goals if they fail to do so.

Don’t shy away from small changes

recycle

When it comes to environmental issues, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. After all, the world is already polluted; how can one small change make a difference?

While it’s true that transformational change will need to happen in order for ocean-bound plastic to no longer be an issue, you can still do your part by ensuring that your company doesn’t add to the issue. Additionally, these small changes are something that you can implement immediately at little cost to your company, making them easy.

Here are some ways that you can make some small changes now:

  • Eliminate unnecessary packing materials(like opting for paper padding over plastic padding when shipping products)
  • Switch to reusable bags for your customers
  • Ban single-use plastics internally
  • Eliminate unnecessary packaging (such as eliminating plastic windows in cardboard packaging that consumers to see the product and opting for a picture of the product instead)

Many of these changes come at a very small cost to your company, and it’s something that the environment and your customers will appreciate. In fact, making a change like moving from single-use plastic bags to reusable bags is something that you can use in your marketing strategy, encouraging sustainability-minded customers to frequent your business.

Invest in plastic credits in order to address orphan plastic waste immediately

plastic credit

As you develop a transformational sustainable business model to reduce your overall orphan plastic footprint, you can invest in plastic credits to remove existing orphan plastic waste from the environment.

Although it is not a permanent solution, and your company should implement further strategies to reduce plastic waste, it does allow you to address the current orphan plastic waste problem while you figure out how to further reduce your plastic production. It’s cost-effective, and you can see the impact that your plastic credits have. In fact, because of the plastic credits purchased through TONTOTON, we’ve been able to eliminate 75 tons of plastic waste in Vietnam and counting. 

Here at TONTOTON, we uniquely address orphan plastic waste through co-processing. We also support waste pickers by providing an additional source of income through orphan plastic collection, providing personal protective equipment, and ensuring that they are fairly compensated for their work. And, it’s all thanks to the funds that we receive from the companies that invest in our plastic credits.

While we still encourage our corporate partners to continue to make additional changes in order to further reduce their plastic footprint, our corporate partners can still enjoy the immediate effects of their plastic credit investment through the proper collection and management of orphan plastic within Vietnam. It’s a win for everyone.

Minimizing your company’s plastic footprint will take a lot of effort over many years. However, there are a few ways that your company can start making a difference now. It’s never too late to try to do better. Start moving toward a more sustainable business model today.