This week, our employees participated in a Plastic Free July Challenge which was promoted by our Sustainability Committee. Many participants made an admirable effort, but only a handful of team members stayed 100% free of single-use plastic in the office.
It was not easy to reduce our use of plastic. One of the items that people stumbled on was fruit stickers. One team member who forgot about their fruit sticker explained, “This was one of the weeks that I didn’t make it to St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market. I think if I try to go to the market and eat locally more often, I won’t get as many fruit stickers.”
Another item that was hard for employees to avoid was plastic lids. Many employees work in an office right across the street from a Tim Hortons. For our Canadian team, Tim’s coffee is very hard to resist – especially if anyone in the office is craving Timbits! However, some of us used reusable Keurig cups instead. These cups are filled with coffee grinds that are bought in bulk and then do not leave any plastic or filter behind. One employee also brought in a glass jar of homemade iced tea, which she made in a large batch. She explained that sometimes she prefers jars to bottles because “They’re carried like a bottle but feel like a regular glass when you drink from them.”
One of the main strategies that employees used to reduce their plastic usage was strategically planning and packing their lunches and snacks. An employee expressed her surprise at how many dishes and containers she used in only one week. Another employee who often brings individually packaged Dad’s cookies expressed that she might start buying the larger boxes, which do not contain individually wrapped portions.
Jonathan, Tracy and Karen were the three happy winners of our contest, as they brought absolutely no single-use plastic into work this week. They each won a brand new solar power portable charger for their devices. Jon says that he’ll use it for camping trips with his family and friends, while Karen has expressed that she will use it in her backyard as she is relaxing and listening to music over the weekend. Do you want one of these solar chargers for your hikes, picnics or days at the beach? Stay tuned for our next contest when we will offer the same prize to our partners, clients, and online network (that means you)!