ESG: Why TOP Tech Companies Should Ban Single-use Plastic Water Bottles
Sometimes you know when a relationship is dead. No one really wants to talk about it because there’s not much left worth saving. You know it’s time to walk away, but it’s awkward because you see them everywhere, yet you know it’s time to leave the past in the past. The relationship we’re talking about is corporate America’s love affair with the single-use plastic water bottle. And we’ve got some news for you; it’s so freakin’ over!
Over as in, “it IS you, not me.”
Over as in, “plastic, I never really liked you anyway.”
Over as in, “what was I thinking?!”
Over as in, “it’s going to be a messy breakup, but someone’s gotta pull the plug.”
But who will be the first one to make the move?
A Movement to BAN Workplace Single-use Plastic Water Bottles
Following in the path of cities like San Francisco, which have banned the on-site sale of single-use plastic water bottles, Salesforce and Intuit have joined the movement in this same vein. Salesforce now leads in sustainability efforts and has created an example for other major tech companies to follow suit. PATH has teamed up with Intuit and Salesforce to offer sustainable, refillable bottled water. Because of this, the Salesforce team has stopped roughly 35,000+ plastic water bottles from being purchased, used, and ultimately dumped. This calculation is derived from the fact that although the bottle is infinitely refillable, people on average, reuse their aluminum PATH bottle a minimum of 5 times before recycling it. These simple changes to a company’s sustainability policy and materials-first purchasing practices have enormous impacts on the quality of life for everyone.
Workplace WINS for Banning Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles
- Improves employee health & wellness
- Enhances office culture
- Cuts carbon
- Reduces dependence on petroleum-derived products
- Ensures brain health by helping staff avoid microplastic exposure
- Reduces waste & associated fees
- Improves employee commitment to sustainability
- Better for our planet, our oceans, and our local economies
- Contributes to more impactful Sustainability Initiatives
- Lightens the burden on landfills
As more business leaders begin to understand the impact that single-use plastic bottled water has on our planet and our health, the PATH team is committed to offering them education and, ultimately, solutions for a more sustainable supply chain.
Improving ESG Report Metrics on Waste with PATH
ESG Reports for publicly traded companies must be backed by verifiable metrics. Now is the time to get ahead regarding waste reduction and diversion metrics by updating the supply chain to exclude single-use bottled water and replace it with refillable, recyclable PATH. Tech leaders who are implementing sustainability measures as a standard must make an effort to mitigate the harm that single-use plastics have on employee and planetary health. These measures include more efficient building systems, renewable energy, LED lighting, and the day-to-day waste involved in a typical workday at a typical workplace. Our days are so busy that when we have a chance to reflect on how much waste we generate, we begin to see just how quickly garbage in the workplace piles up exponentially. That exponential plastic waste can easily be corrected by replacing single-use plastic bottled water with refillable, recyclable aluminum bottled water.
From 10,000 sheets of paper to 156 single-use plastic water bottles annually, office workers naturally go through a lot of waste. Road Runner Smart Recycling supplied the figures from the image above. Of all the waste generated by an average office worker, we found that the most unnecessary source of waste was single-use plastic water bottles. That’s because the process of creating single-use plastic is unsustainable at best. The fossil fuels drilled to produce the bottle, the health risks associated with drinking out of a plastic bottle, and the fact that plastic takes more than 450 years to decompose all account for the reasons we can no longer reconcile this waste. There are so many better and just as convenient ways to do water. Grab a cup, carry a reusable bottle, buy a reusable PATHWATER, you name it! Nearly anything is better, and these habits are even more impactful when they become a part of company culture and the societal norm.
How Many Single-use Plastic Water Bottles do Major Tech Companies Use?
The question really is, how much could they save? We’ve taken a headcount of employees at 13 of the top tech companies in the U.S. to estimate the impact they would have on the plastics crisis by implementing a company-wide ban that would ideally influence employee behavior across their entire lifestyle to carry reusable water bottles.
Considering that the average American uses 156 single-use plastic water bottles every year and with a workforce totaling 1,721,869 (from the companies listed above), we calculated that if each employee changed their single-use consumption across their entire lifestyle as a result of influence and education, this would potentially stop about 268,611,564 plastic bottles from being “singly-used” every single year.
Albeit, there are people from the companies above that carry reusable water bottles. These numbers also don’t include the scope of the people visiting for meetings, conferences, and other work-related cross-company events where visitors are given or purchase single-use plastic water bottles.
Corporate America’s Plastic Water Bottle Break-Up
Now, more than ever, tech companies have a chance to lead the way with smarter choices and get credit for it in their ESG Reports. The way out of the literal plastic mess we've made is going to take a materials-first approach when it comes to supply chain and purchasing decisions. No amount of designer suits from the Will-i-am's Coca-Cola plastic bottle line will save us now. No offense, Will-i-am; we love you, we just want better solutions, and we're sure you do too. It's time corporate America ripped off the band-aid and break up with cheap, trashy material that is single-use plastic bottled water.
The answer to waste is not just recycling. The answer to waste management is to consider the cost-benefit for each material we manufacture, purchase, and ultimately bring into the market and our corporate offices. We must consider our decisions' impact on our staff's health, our ability to be innovative, our growing waste streams, our relevancy, and our responsibility to the future.
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