Since its inception in 1974, World Environment Day (June 5) is the UN’s most important date for encouraging environmental awareness and action across the globe. Much like Earth Day, World Environment Day focuses on spreading awareness as well as on action and doing something to benefit the Earth.
Every year there is a theme for World Environment Day and for 2018, it's beating plastic pollution!
We can play a very important role in this fight both as individuals and businesses because plastic is such a big part of all of our lives. If you think about it, how often is plastic part of your day? With things like single serving meals, drinking straws, packaging, grocery bags, electronics, etc., the role plastic plays in our lives is vast and the results are scary.
According to the BBC, as of 2015, approximately 6.3bn tonnes of plastic had been generated. Only 9% has been recycled, 12% incinerated and a whopping 79% is accumulated in landfills and the natural environment.
(Infographic by Botanical PaperWorks, Facts found on ecowatch.com)
If you want to take action for World Environment Day as a business and be a part of the fight to beat plastic pollution, below are few ways to make an impact.
1. Educate your team - Make sure everyone in your workplace and visitors know what can and cannot be recycled when it comes to plastic and encourage the use of reusables. You could even go so far as to ban single-serving disposables to really have an impact. With a small in-house campaign about recycling, you can spread awareness that can have a huge impact in your workplace and beyond.
2. Choose biodegradable materials instead - Plastic is often the easiest choice, but there are actually tons of solutions out there that are biodegradable and even those that do something good for the planet. For example, seed paper plantable promotional products can replace a variety of plastic-based materials used for businesses, and they grow into beneficial plants for the planet when planted.
Here are a few specific ideas:
Use seed paper wristbands to replace the plastic kind at events.
Choose plantable shapes giveaways instead of pens or other plastic promotional giveaways
3. Send a message - If you're making changes to benefit the planet, make sure to share that with the world. Occasions like World Environment Day are a great time to spread the word and connect with people on a very important topic.
4. Host a cleanup - Nothing helps spread awareness and encourages change better than getting people outdoors to look for plastic pollution and pick it up. You could even make it a challenge of some sort to see who can collect the most.
5. Buy in bulk - By buying things in bulk you are not only reducing the packaging materials, but you also reduce transportation emissions associated with deliveries. WIN-WIN!