At Badger, we take a caring and mindful approach to environmental responsibility—a core principle that’s reflected in every aspect of our operations. This year, as part of our company-wide strategic goals, we wanted to focus on improving our sustainable purchasing practices while raising awareness by actively engaging employees in initiatives that reflect our company values.
Recently, our Sustainability Committee invited interested Badgers to refuse all single-use plastic for one week, an initiative modeled after Earth Carer’s Plastic Free July. Employees were also asked to deposit any plastic they were unable to refuse into a community dilemma bin.
Twenty-nine Badgers enthusiastically undertook the plastic free challenge and many lively discussions ensued. We talked about how to swap store bought peanut butter cups in plastic containers for yummy DIY recipes, the benefits of using mason jars to transport prepared foods from the salad and hot food bar, and why it’s good to refuse plastic drinking straws offered at restaurants or bring your own reusable straw. And that was just for starters!
Taking on this plastic free challenge as a community really opened our eyes and taught us how to think differently about the purchasing choices we make at work and at home.
We also learned that one small change could create many ripples, which in turn can have a big impact. And, that while we may be dreamers here at Badger, we’re also realistic and understand that swearing off all single-use plastic is not a viable choice for everyone. However, making a conscious effort to cut down on plastic consumption by seeking alternatives is a small step we can all take towards a plastic free life.
Striving to be plastic free. Lessons learned:
Rianne: “I use more plastic than I thought I did. Significantly reducing my plastic use is doable to a large degree, and I will make changes to the way I approach it in the future.”
Emmi: “In many cases, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be. I just had to plan the day and take all necessary things with me accordingly. An example: in addition to grocery bags and produce bags, I now carry 3 empty mason jars (with the weight of the jar on the lid) for bulk items like nuts and grains.”
Tal: “It was an excellent way to raise my own awareness of particular decisions about what to buy out in the world. In theory, I prefer to avoid single use plastic. In practice, it can be hard to navigate a simple trip to the movies and remain true to this commitment. The challenge (and the shadow of the dilemma bin) definitely helped me make more sustainable choices in the moment.”
Christina: “It was very eye-opening. So many products come wrapped in plastic! I think it was great to get outside of my normal robot grocery buying experience and really think about how to get around plastic containers. With kids, it is difficult, but I was able to push myself to get more creative.”
Ready to try your own plastic-free week at work, home, or school? Here’s how:
- In a communal space, post a sign-up sheet with challenge details. Make sure people know it’s a fun challenge, not a competition.
- Place a dilemma bin near the sign-up sheet for collecting any unavoidable single-use plastic.
- Get the conversation going using email, meet-ups, or by inviting people to share on a second blank sheet.
- At the end of the week, gather together to celebrate your efforts and share lessons learned. Be sure to recycle the plastic in your dilemma bin.
We’d love to hear and see the results of your own plastic-free week! Please share your challenge ideas, stories, and photos with us in the comments below.