More and more states are banning plastic bags. Currently, Vermont, Oregon, New York, Hawaii, Delaware, and California are the only states to ban plastic bags. Also, the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa have also banned plastic bags.
While there is no national ban yet, many states are passing laws or enacting ordinances that ban plastic bags in the future or impose a fee on companies using plastic bags. Have you thought about how this will affect your business in the future? Did you ever think that getting rid of plastic bags could actually help your company?
We’ll cover these topics and help you understand why states are banning plastic bags, how to recycle bags, and how you should market your plastic-free progress.
Why Are States Banning Plastic Bags?
While the above states have banned plastic bags, even more municipalities across the United States have bans, regulations, or fees when it comes to using plastic bags. Depending on where you live, not all plastic retail shopping bags may be banned. Most of the time, lightweight or single-use plastic bags are banned.
Plastic Bags and Recycling
Plastic grocery bags are not typically accepted in recycling bins that are in front of your house. This is because they can’t be separated and damage the equipment once they get to the recycling facilities.
Even if you can’t put plastic bags in the recycling bin, the plastic bags need to be clean and dry before recycling them. This makes it harder to recycle them, so check with your local ordinances about what type of plastic bags can and cannot be recycled.
Reduce Single-Use Plastic at Your Business
Now you understand why plastic bags are banned, and how difficult they can be to recycle, let’s talk about how to reduce single-plastic use in your business. One of the easiest ways is to give all your employees reusable shopping bags.
Even if you aren’t a grocery store or sell items that go into bags, giving your employees reusable shopping bags encourages them to use them while not at work. Employees can also use it as a work bag to bring items to and from work.
The following are even more things you can do to reduce single-use plastic in your business.
Plastic Recycling Symbols
When using plastic isn’t avoidable, it is important to know the recycling symbols. These are confusing if you have never recycled before, or are just getting into recycling. The easiest way to introduce this in your business is to put a poster above the recycling bin. Every time someone throws plastic in a bin, they will read the sign and the repetitive nature will solidify the symbols in their mind.
The symbols include:
- Symbol 7 — Miscellaneous: miscellaneous category, includes computer cases, large gallon water bottles, and nylon.
- Symbol 6 — (PS) Polystyrene: hard packaging, take-out containers, CD cases, and egg cartons.
- Symbol 5 —(PP) Polypropylene: syrup bottles, toys, straws, and medicine bottles.
- Symbol 4 — LDPE) Low-Density Polyethylene: squeezable bottles and shopping bags.
- Symbol 3 — (PVC) or (V) Polyvinyl Chloride: siding, windows, and clear food packaging.
- Symbol 2 — (HDPE) High-Density Polyethylene: cleaning products, personal hygiene product bottles, and milk jugs.
- Symbol 1 — (PETE) or (PET) Polyethylene Terephthalate: water bottles, soda, and juice bottles.
The easiest way to encourage recycling is with standardized labels on your recycling bins.
Market Your Plastic-Free Progress
While you are going towards reducing and eliminating single-use plastic in your business, be sure your customers know. Some programs provide certificates for zero waste, low waste, etc.
When your company sends less than 10 percent of its solid waste to incinerators or landfills it is considered zero waste. Even if zero-waste isn’t your goal, showing your customers that you are eco-conscious can boost your business.
Use a Regular Coffee Machine
While K-cups are delicious, they create a lot of waste. The number of k-cups in the landfill could wrap around the planet 10 times and that number is only increasing. Most k-cups can’t be recycled, adding to the waste.
A regular coffee machine to keep your workers happy works just as well. Have your employees bring their own flavored creamer and switch coffee types throughout the week so everyone is happy.
Give Reusable Take-out Containers
Just like giving your staff reusable shopping bags, you can also give them reusable take-out containers. Instead of styrofoam, or other plastic containers, bring your own and you or your employees won’t have to worry about adding to the plastic waste.
Use a Water Cooler
Instead of water bottles, use a water cooler. If your employees don’t have their own reusable water bottle, get them one. It is a great marketing tool and will keep everyone hydrated while they work. Best of all, it will reduce the amount of plastic in the landfill.
Each year, 1.6 billion disposable pens are thrown away and end up in the landfill. Instead of purchasing disposable pens, buy reusable pens. While reusable pens are a bit more expensive, it can pay off in the long run.
Refillable Soap and Toiletries
Even if you don’t run a hotel, you probably have soap and toiletries in the bathroom. Use refillable soap containers that last for a long time. Many times these are made of glass, which can be recycled. Oftentimes, refillable glass containers look more elegant and refined. Whether you have customers coming in, or only employees using the restroom, it will give the office a clean feel.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Use refillable and reusable containers around the office to reduce waste. Give your employees personalized water bottles and reusable shopping bags. There are many ways to reduce your plastic use and help the environment. See what reusable bags Prime Line Retail has to offer today!