Plastic waste is a serious problem in Singapore. Statistics from 2018 suggest that Singaporeans go through 1.76 billion plastic items per year and only 20 per cent of these get recycled. According to the Singapore Environment Council, Singaporeans use 467 million plastic bottles per year and 473 million disposable, single-use plastic items.
Offices contribute massively to this plastic pollution. Single-use plastic cups, utensils, plastic bags, containers and bottles are a common sight at a regular work place.
Clever office interior design can offer some solutions to this problem. In fact, Singapore interior design companies have been conceptualising projects that allow for the complete elimination of plastic from the office. Sustainability is expected to become an even bigger, more prominent trend in the future office design.
Putting together a plastic-free office can be relatively easy. You can start with a few simple, gradual changes like the ones mentioned in this guide.
Environmentally-Conscious Kitchen Accessories and Utensils
The water cooler is a place of socialisation and so is the office kitchen. Unfortunately, these feature plastic cups, plates and single-use utensils that employees will need once to consume their meal before discarding.
Interior design can put emphasis on beautiful utensils and kitchen accessories designed for multiple uses.
Your interior design team will work on a cosy kitchen that features porcelain mugs, plates, a sufficient number of forks and knives. Having a dishwasher in the office kitchen is also a good idea because cleaning utensils will become simpler and people will be less drawn to choosing single use cutlery.
Once the kitchen is designed, you may want to start thinking about the provision of incentives and stimuli for environment-conscious behaviour. There may be small prizes for the workers who refrain from using plastic. The provision of such incentives will quickly turn sustainability into a part of the office culture.
Custom, Branded Multi-Use Water Bottles
As you’ve gathered from the intro, the use of plastic bottles is a major problem in Singapore and one of the main contributors to plastic pollution.
Let your design team work or help source for a supplier to custom design water bottles that goes both with your brand and the office interior design. It could be branded, it could feature your corporate colours or another part of your corporate identity. Bottles made from metal are very long-lived, beautiful and stylish.
Providing employees with such bottles and making sure there’s always a gallon for refills at the office will definitely reduce the need for the purchase of single-use plastic bottles.
Designated Recycling Corners
While getting rid of plastic in the kitchen is relatively easy, going to a 100 per cent free from plastic office is not entirely achievable.
Stationary and office supplies often come in plastic packaging. There will be shipments arriving on a daily basis, files, plastic wraps and outdated plastic supplies that you’ll eventually have to get rid of.
Good office interior design creates designated recycling corners that are readily accessible and visible.
Make sure you have at least several recycling corners scattered throughout the workplace. This is especially important for larger offices. If people don’t have easy access to the recycling bin, they may get lazy and throw plastic items in the regular trash can.
Signs and labels that explain the importance of recycling can also be incorporated in the office interior design. Work with your interior design team to make these signs visually pleasing and informative at the same time. You can have an entire wall in the office turned into an infographic that explains the consequences of plastic pollution and the little steps that can be undertaken towards living in a cleaner and healthier environment.
A Beautiful, Sustainable, Plastic-Free Office
Many offices in Singapore are reliant on plastic supplies and even pieces of furniture. These are still utilised because they’re long-lived, easy to maintain and more affordable than other options.
Plastic items, however, will eventually have to be discarded. In the long run, some more expensive materials could prove to be a better investment because they will remain in a good condition for a much longer period of time.
Tell your interior designer that you want to go plastic-free in terms of accessories, furniture and decorations.
Your interior design team will opt for sustainable alternatives like wood, bamboo, stone and ceramic tiles. All of these are much better than their plastic counterparts for the environment. In addition, a plastic-free office interior will look much more sophisticated and welcoming.
A 100 Per Cent Plastic-Free Office Café
Just like you can eliminate plastic from the workspace, you can also get rid of plastic at the office café or bistro.
Larger companies and corporations tend to have an office café as an added perk. It’s a wonderful place for creative sessions, a bit of relaxation and socialisation with co-workers. Cafés, however, are notorious for the excessive use of plastic cups, straws, plastic bags, utensils and containers.
A green café will be very trendy and it will also teach employees about the importance of going plastic-free.
Make sure that the café lacks a vending machine that releases plastic cups and bottles. Instead, install a more high-end coffee machine (we’ve already discussed the ways to get rid of plastic cups and bottles). If you’re opting for a coffee machine, make sure it’s not of the variety that uses plastic capsules.
Cloth bags for the storage of food remains are a great choice – these are washable, recyclable and they can also be branded to carry your company’s message and identity elements.
Don’t hesitate to change practices that have been around for decades. Just because everyone else is reliant on everyday plastic use at the office doesn’t mean that a better option is missing.
Talk to your interior design team and communicate the desire to go as plastic-free as possible. Experienced designers like the Home Guide team know what it takes to utilise sustainable materials and to introduce decorative solutions that will encourage office workers to reduce, reuse, recycle.
Contact Home Guide today and make the first step towards enhanced office sustainability and the creation of a brand new workplace culture.