Badger’s Plastic Free Challenge

Plastic Free Challenge

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 - Plastic Free Challenge

 

 

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 - Plastic Free Challenge

 

 

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 - Plastic Free Challenge

 

 

 

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.”

 

 

 

In the end, our dilemma bin from our plastic free challenge contained 1.6 lbs. of plastic, 60% of which was food
In the end, our dilemma bin from our plastic free challenge contained 1.6 lbs. of plastic, 60% of which was food

 

Ready to try your own plastic-free week at work, home, or school? Here’s how:

  1. In a communal space, post a sign-up sheet with challenge details. Make sure people know it’s a fun challenge, not a competition.
  2. Place a dilemma bin near the sign-up sheet for collecting any unavoidable single-use plastic.
  3. Get the conversation going using email, meet-ups, or by inviting people to share on a second blank sheet.
  4. 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.

Jess Baum
About

Jess Baum works in Marketing and is on the Sustainability Committee. She came to Badger after earning a Professional Science Masters in Environmental Education, for which she co-created an Environmental Management System for Badger. She is a Certified Herbalist and loves to spend time in the woods foraging. When she’s not at Badger, Jess enjoys jewelry making, baking, soil, salamanders, and spending time with her 2 adorable cats.

Jess’ favorite Badger products: Unscented Face Cleansing Oil, Damascus Rose Body Oil, and Poetic Pomegranate Cocoa Butter Lip Balm.

3 comments on “Badger’s Plastic Free Challenge

  • Robyn Engelman says:

    I loved this blog post! I challenged myself about a year ago to reduce the amount of plastic I use as much as possible, and it’s definitely not as easy as simply using re-useable shopping bags or storing leftovers in mason jars. That was a good start but it’s just the start! Like others,I found the hardest part to be food storage, particularly in my kids’ lunches. My solution for school lunches was to use small metal tins that I already had in the house (from specialty tea). I used these for dry snacks and sandwiches. I even used a well-washed Badger Night Balm tin for dried apple slices and hummus! My daughter loved that!! Drinks still had to go in plastic since the school prohibits glass, but I send a thermos that will last for years before it has to be recycled. One of my other “dilemmas” was buying fresh produce in winter when I can’t simply walk out to my garden. How does one transport lettuce and tomatoes home from the store without one of those thin plastic produce bags? They roll around in the cart and get damaged. My solution was to bring small paper bags and use the self check so as not to annoy the check-out clerk. I still got stopped by the person monitoring the self check to see what was in the bags I was weighing, but the experience pushed me to shop more often at my local Whole Foods, where they are more on board with this sort of thing. Whole foods is a longer drive for me, so I have to be more organized to limit my trips/gas usage and be a smart shopper. Another dilemma is personal care products. I have yet to find shampoo or mouthwash, etc that comes in glass, so I still have to recycle those plastic bottles, but fortunately they are always in an easy-to-recycle plastic. Switching from liquid hand soap to bar soap is a great way to reduce those little plastic soap bottles. Overall I have watched our recycling bin go from overflowing on pick-up day to about half full on an average week. I am still looking for more ways so if you folks at Badger come up with more ideas please post!!

    Reply
    • Hi Robyn!

      Thanks for sharing your experience and great ideas with us! It truly is a lifestyle shift to begin to approach purchasing choices differently. What an accomplishment, to go from an overflowing recycling bin to one that is half full. That’s huge progress! Keep up the good work, and keep sharing your tips and tricks with us! We will be sure to continue to do the same.

      Warmly on behalf of the Badgers,
      Jess

      Reply

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