4 min read
Reducing plastics - one piece at a time
Our journey to becoming a single-use plastic free workplace.
- Plastic pollution is one of today’s most pressing environmental issues. In activating our purpose to protect the planet, Deloitte Ireland have taken several positive steps towards becoming a single-use plastic free workplace.
Our aspiration to becoming a single-use plastic free workplace involved making some small yet extremely effective changes to everyday life here in Deloitte Ireland. The first step on our journey was to carry out a single-use plastic audit to understand where, as a firm, we were at in achieving this ambitious target. Carrying out this audit allowed us to identify the plastics that we needed to remove or replace with their multi-use or compostable counterparts, offering us the opportunity to put a plan to remove these items in place. To action our plans, we collaborated with several different stakeholders including our procurement team and catering and cleaning service providers, to find the best alternatives on offer.
By working with these stakeholders, we undertook an assessment of current stocks, costs and the suitability of each plastic alternative we wanted to implement.
To start this process, we introduced small, yet effective changes to launch our single use plastic free initiative. Several single-use items were substituted with compostable alternatives including all coffee cups and lids in our canteens, cutlery, paper napkins and straws. We also now use multi-use items in place of single-use items where possible.
In our canteens, breakfast items such as seeds, granola and honey are now served directly from the counter and drinks in plastic bottles were replaced with cans. In addition, our people now have the option to use their own containers for takeaway sandwich or salads, which has vastly reduced the amount of single use items that are used in our canteens on a daily basis. We also took the decision to phase out sugar cubes in our meeting rooms that were individually wrapped in plastic, replacing them with sachets, showing our people as well as clients and visitors to our offices just how important this initiative is to us.
Additionally, all single-use plastic cups were completely removed from our offices. We facilitated this with the introduction of Zip Taps in our kitchens, enabling our people to use their own reusable cups or bottles during their working day. The introduction of these taps has also helped us to complete a phased removal of all bottled water coolers in our offices. In the instance where single use cups are required, plastic cups have been replaced with their compostable equivalent.
Ensuring we were covering all bases, recycling bins have been placed in all kitchens where coffee machines are used to facilitate the responsible recycling of coffee pods. In the same vein, we introduced Deloitte KeepCups in partnership with environmental charity Leave No Trace Ireland, resulting in 2,040 cups being diverted from waste streams between August 2019 and March 2020 – read more about this partnership in the story “Going Green with Leave No Trace”.
We communicated all of these green changes to our people by creating a dedicated intranet page and by sharing success stories in the Deloitte Download, the firm’s weekly newsletter. We also shared our experience and key learnings with the Deloitte global Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability network on a plastics reduction webinar. Our journey to becoming a greener firm was well received by our global colleagues, with some getting in touch afterwards to learn more about our transition so that they could implement similar changes in their offices. We are extremely proud that our changes are now helping to make an impact globally.
Since the beginning of our journey to becoming a single use plastic free workplace, we have made significant changes to our business and plan to continue identifying even more changes that we can make to protect our planet. By committing to this plastic reduction journey, we are upholding our commitment to making an impact that matters for our planet while also encouraging our people to become more sustainability minded on a daily basis.