It doesn’t take long to find mention of single-use plastic in today’s media. It’s hardly surprising when watching documentaries like the BBC’s Blue Planet II – the series credited with bringing the plastic problem to the fore – or reading of warnings that predict more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050.
Huge quantities of the material are discovered in every corner of the world and, most distressing of all, it’s consumed unwittingly by wild animals. Plastic is also known to break down, leaving behind an even large number of microscopic particles that take hundreds if not thousands of years to fully degrade. What effect microplastic has on the human body and different ecosystems is still yet to be determined.
This kind of research, which continues to be published daily, comes as no shock to scientists and naturalists. Plastic has been a growing concern for a number of years, especially within marine environments. Urgency among the general public, however, has only just started to pick up pace and this has placed considerable pressure on businesses to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible.
Facilities management is no exception to this pressure, with many service providers now looking to minimise or even eliminate plastic within their supply chains. There are quick wins that make complete sense, like getting rid of plastic cutlery and straws, as well as other changes that require a more considered approach to see effective, lasting change. After all, it makes little sense to make operational changes that are difficult to maintain or, worse still, simply kick the can down the road.
It’s this desire to effect sustainable, positive change that serves as the foundation for OCS’s plan on plastic. We have drawn up a number of realistic targets that not only begin the journey towards a plastic-free future but also minimise its wider effect on the environment.
So, what does this look like in practice? Firstly, it means reducing single-use plastic without neglecting other concerns, like carbon emissions. Secondly, educating front-line staff involved in waste management and the lifecycle of waste. Finally, reinforcing behavioural change among staff (and clients’ staff) both at work and at home by promoting sustainable alternatives, especially at OCS catering sites.
Here are 9 sustainable changes that OCS has made to minimise its impact on the environment.
Plastic pollution is a complex issue, but with an intelligent strategy in place FM organisations can begin to finally turn the tide on this issue.
Don’t miss the opportunity to hear from Yvonne Taylor in person! Catch her session on Wednesday 10th April at 14:00 The Facilities Hub at The Facilities Event. Register free here