As we near Earth Day on April 22nd, we’re excited to celebrate our Pacific Workplaces locations that have made a commitment to sustainability by becoming SUPER Certified! (Single Use Plastic Elimination or Reduction). SUPER® is a non-profit organization that provides 3rd party certifications to companies that eliminate or greatly reduce single-use plastics in their workplaces. 91% of plastic ends up in our landfills and ecosystems, and the Plastic Soup Foundation shares that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
Last year, several of our locations took part in SUPER®’s Pilot Program and have been working very hard to combat the plastics pollution problem by purchasing alternatives to replace the ‘use once and toss’ products. This month, we would like to honor our Santa Cruz, Berkeley, Reno, Roseville, Sacramento Watt, Greenhaven, and Las Vegas locations for implementing specific changes within their coworking communities that will make a positive impact on the earth and our members. Keep reading to learn more about the adjustments we’ve made to see how small changes can make a big difference.
Reducing The Environmental Impact of Coffee
Coffee & tea are vital to a coworking space. Not only does it provide us with the caffeine we crave to get through the work day, the coffee pot serves as a nexus where people naturally come to gather and chat. Sadly, there is a plethora of single-use items which surround this experience. Here are just some of the alternatives that these locations have implemented in service of our members:
- Replacing individual plastic creamer containers with cartons of milk that are made out of paper/wax.
- Torani Syrups that come in glass bottles with reusable pumps for members who want flavoring in their coffee. Travis, our Reno Community Manager says, “We get so much positive feedback from prospective members when they see our array of colorful and flavorful glass bottles on tours.”
- We save our coffee grounds for our green thumb members to take home to their gardens
- Encouraging the use of coffee mugs and personal refillable water bottles
- Reusable coffee filters
- Locally sourced and ground organic coffee delivered in returnable and reusable bins
- Make our members special sweetened cream – reach out to us for the recipe!
- Loose leaf tea as opposed to individual, one-use tea bags. (People don’t realize that many brands of tea infuse plastic into their tea bags – which then leaches into our tea when we add boiling hot water to it)
- Honey that comes in a jar and not a plastic container
- And of course….no single serve or “K-cup” coffee
Snacks & Ditching Disposable Kitchen Items
Amanda Vollema, Community Coordinator at our NextSpace Santa Cruz location said, “Many of the changes we’ve made concerned snacks and amenities we offer in the kitchen. So if you don’t know where to start, the kitchen/café/lounge area of your space is a great place to tackle first.”
- Get rid of the vending machine if you have one. The single-use packaging of these food items produces more waste that ends up in toxic landfills.
- Set-up a refillable snack bar where food can be stored in glass containers and offer scoopers and paper bags for members to create their own “snack mix.”
- Locally sourced bakery products delivered in paper bags, not plastic clamshells
- Coordinate a regular order of bagels or fresh baked cookies from a local business and let them know that you would like to arrange for the removal of plastic altogether from your orders. A local shop will be more willing to provide a solution for you, and it’s a chance to support your business community.
- Stick to washable silverware and eating utensils
- When you order paper products, make sure it isn’t wrapped in plastic packaging
For bonus points, check out these other pro-tips:
- Use refillable dry erase board markers
- Use highlighter pencils instead of pens
- Our NextSpace Berkeley location offers feminine products that are organic. The applicator and packaging is all recyclable, and there is information about reusable, non-single-use plastic menstrual cups
- Use eco-friendly cleaning supplies, and hand soap that comes in an aluminum dispenser that is refillable
Communicating change & raising awareness to your members
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed and worried about how members may react to change when you undertake a plan to reduce single-use plastic. We know humans are characteristically resistant to change. At PAC, we know that few people appreciate comments about their sustainability choices – and we would never do that. That is what makes SUPER® such a great solution for us. We can showcase really delightful and helpful sustainable options that still deliver a great customer experience. This is a part of our commitment to hospitality, which we hope shows through our deeds, and not just our words, that WE CARE about our members and WE MAKE WORK BETTER through our attention to the detail of sustainability. We hope our efforts create a healthy work environment and lead the way for what it means to be both business-minded and sustainability-minded. We are so proud of our SUPER® Certified PAC locations!
For more information on how to reduce single-use plastic in your workplace, visit https://www.super.ngo/
Contact us to learn more about how to be part of a workspace community with a sustainable ethos.