Zero-Waste Workplace

Depending on our occupation, it can be particularly challenging to avoid waste at work as we have far less control over materials, suppliers, etc. But we can still make a few changes.

If you’re in Australia, lucky you! BuyEcoGreen is an online shop specialising in green office supplies, school supplies and art and craft products. “The products that we supply need to satisfy at least two of our environmental criteria which include being recycled, biodegradable, reusable, sustainable, organic and having a reduced impact on the environment.”

Art Materials

[in the works]

Bubble Wrap

[in the works]

Mailers

[in the works]

Packaging

Completely compostable food packaging is possible, and Vegware, based in Scotland, is pioneering its development. They offer over 250 compostable products spanning cutlery through to tableware, napkins, hot and cold drink cups, and takeaway packaging. These products are available worldwide: if you’re complaining to your local businesses about plastic, suggest they look into this!

Pens and Pencils

[in the works]

Plastic Tape (aka sellotape or scotch tape)

Even though this item is pervasive, it’s surprisingly easy to do without it entirely.

  • The answer is gummed paper tape, which watercolourists will already be familiar with: gummed strips of paper, available in rolls of varying width (said rolls being sold unpackaged and without even a wasteful inner tube). You tear off the length you need (or cut, if you need it to look neat), and moisten the gummed side. This can be done by running it under the tap, but using a sponge allows you to control the degree of wetness better. Apply where needed and let dry. It’s incredibly efficient because it bonds with the surface of card and paper. It can even be removed neatly by re-wetting, if necessary. When you use it for packing, the recipient can recycle the whole thing without having to strip plastic tape from the card first. Butterfly gum strip is one brand sold UK art shops, but gummed tape also comes in much more massive rolls that may be better value, so investigate in your local art shops, or online.
  • There is also cellulose tape, which is plastic-free, made from plant material that biodegrades completely. However, the term “cellulose” tends to be bandied about indiscriminately, so make quite sure you’re buying genuine cellulose, such as this product on Life Without Plastic or this one on BuyEcoGreen

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