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What can business people do to cut down on plastic bottle wastage in the workplace?
There has been increasing publicity recently about the amount of waste bottled water generates. Incredible statistics show that very few single-use plastic bottles are ever recycled – with fewer than half of the 500 billion plastic bottles made every year collected for recycling and only 7% of these turned into new bottles [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/28/a-million-a-minute-worlds-plastic-bottle-binge-as-dangerous-as-climate-change].
Bottled Water and Pollution
Bottled water production is a wasteful and environmentally-damaging procedure that consumes a huge amount of energy and water. Amazingly, a single litre bottle of water requires 7 litres of water in its production [http://permatech-me.com/life-journey-bottle-water/] on top of the natural gas, crude oil, ink and paper required for the rest of its production. This ecologically harmful process is exacerbated by the national, or in some cases international, transportation required from the bottling source to the end-user.
These plastic bottles take between 450 – 1000 years to degrade [https://www.postconsumers.com/2011/10/31/how-long-does-it-take-a-plastic-bottle-to-biodegrade/ , meaning they occupy huge amounts of the earth’s ever-dwindling supply of landfill space, or often end up in the sea. Unfortunately when plastic bottles are dumped in the sea they can cause serious damage to the marine ecosystem, with tiny pieces of plastic causing suffocation, entanglement as well as being ingested by marine animals, meaning plastic can even find its way back up the food chain onto our plates.
Although there has been publicity relating to reducing the number of single-use plastic water bottles for personal use, there has been far less regarding how to prevent this in the workplace.
Solutions for Businesses
In order to reduce plastic wastage in your workplace, you may want to encourage your employees to drink from re-usable bottles, although this will mean you probably need to supply a water cooler.
Providing a water cooler for your employees is a less wasteful means of supplying water, however even water coolers do result in waste plastic whilst the transportation of the water bottles to and from your workplace (usually by van or lorry) increases C02 emissions.
However, there is an even more environmentally-friendly alternative to bottled water coolers; coolers which utilise the existing water supply through filtration. This type of water cooler – known as a point-of-use (POU) water cooler – uses the water mains to supply filtered water without the need for replacing the bottle.
A POU water cooler uses a carbon filter to reduce the chlorine content as well as other impurities and create an extremely pure water taste that rivals that of bottled water.
So, if you are looking to reduce the amount of plastic wastage in your office and help the fight against plastic pollution, consider a POU water cooler.
This article was contributed by Matthew Pavli, a content writer for Aqua Cure [https://www.aquacure.co.uk/] – water filtration specialists based in the UK.
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