Keeping it Sustainable At the GB Office
Before we get into this, it is important to understand that no one is born sustainable, we all start somewhere. By implementing simple tasks, tricks, and mindsets we can all make a positive impact on the planet, no matter how small we feel it may be. Sustainability begins as conscious choices that naturally mature into second nature. In the beginning of your journey you will slip up! Hey-the most sustainable people out there once slipped up too. Just remember it is a process, not a switch you can flip on! Sustainability is empowering when we do it together, and the Get Back office is on a mission to better ourselves for a cleaner and healthier future for ourselves and our earth.
My name’s Rachel, I’m the newest member of the Get Back squad and I am going to share our quickest ways we keep our workspace kitchen sustainable on a daily basis.
First stop: Coffee
Coffee cups are recyclable because they’re paper..right? I wish that was the answer. Unfortunately the paper cups are lined with plastic to keep them waterproof which means because of their mixed material they are very hard to recycle and typically just end up circulating in landfills. But do not fear because reusable coffee cups are abundant (and sometimes you even get a discount at coffee shops for using them!).
The start to any office morning is rolling in with some coffee, the ritualized drink that gets the work-flow going on a daily basis. If you’re a “grab some coffee on the way to work/school” type of person, here are some suggestions on making that part of your life just a little more sustainable:
Our little kitchen here at the Get Back office has a coffee machine to cut out the middleman of going to a cafe in order to get some caffeine before we get started on work. We also always have mugs on deck so we don’t need to use any disposable coffee cups. If your office lacks a coffee machine, ask around to see if one of your coworkers has an extra one laying around or get some people to chip in for one so you can all bask in the freedom of accessible coffee all day long. Always make sure the office coffee is from a sustainable, fair trade certified company because sustainability doesn’t have to end at what you drink!
I probably buy coffee about 4 times a week, and 2019 is roughly 10 weeks into our 52-week year. By religiously using my reusable coffee cup and by drinking coffee in the office, I have avoided roughly 40 plastic-lined paper coffee cups and plastic lids from potentially entering landfills. If I keep this up, by the end of the year I will have halted over 200 disposable coffee cups and lids from entering landfills. 200! Imagine if just 5 people had this year-long commitment as well, that would be 1,000 cups and lids diverted from landfills. I have my coffee cup glued to my hip and in some cases I have even chugged a cup of it in a ceramic mug in seconds just to avoid disposing of a cup. Let me tell you, that wasn’t my best idea, but worth it in the name of sustainability.
To keep on with the coffee topic, I once found a box of (clean) wide mouth mason jars in a box on a street corner for free and it was a major score because I had a Cuppow lid on my hands. Cuppow makes drinking lids suited for canning jars like the popular Mason jars. They fit perfectly under the screw on metal ring and let you drink out of any size jar without making a big mess. Best part about them? The lids are recyclable and they have a lifetime warranty. When you purchase a lid from them it comes in full cardboard packaging that can either be composted or recycled, no unnecessary plastic there. The reusable Koffie Straw also fits perfectly into the opening of Cuppow lids.
Next stop: Utensils
Utensils are mindless, right? We’ve all been guilty of it-we need to eat on the go and because it’s not too smart to use your hands as a fork (in public), we grab disposable cutlery and head out the door. Or some days we proudly pack a lunch for work or school but then-ugh- forget the fork. In the end, we manage to find some plastic cutlery to eat our food so we can get on with our day. After making this mistake an insane amount of times I got my hands on some To-Go Ware. It is a small pouch of reusable bamboo cutlery that is compact and even has a carabiner clip so I can secure it to my bag to make sure it follows me everywhere. I’m proud to say in addition to no disposable coffee cups, I have been able to go this whole year so far without plastic cutlery as well thanks to my handy bamboo set and some determination.
We keep a set of silverware in our office kitchen so we never have to dispose of another piece of plastic cutlery again. You can team up with people in your office to make sure there is always reusable silverware accessible to everyone so you can reduce your utensil waste together!
Last stop: Food
An aspect of always being on the go is being prepared with food and snacks to get you through the day. Need to keep some apple slices contained or transport some homemade granola with you? Pick up a set of rezip bags and never deal with another disposable ziplock baggie ever again! These baggies strong, reusable, and washable and in the end you’ll save money since you don’t have to keep buying new boxes of disposable plastic baggies.
Prepping your own food for the office is a great way to avoid to-go boxes and take-out food waste. However, if you didn’t have time to whip up some lunch you can always bring a reusable container to your favorite restaurant and ask them to put your food in that!
The dishes we keep in the GB kitchen to avoid disposable plates, cups, and bowls!
There are many ways to get on the sustainability train but doing it together is a great way to get motivated and stay motivated. We hope these suggestions can help you and your team create a more sustainable workspace. As always, give us your tips and tricks! Our team is always looking for new ways to be as sustainable as possible.