Plastic has previously been lauded as a sanitary, easy to produce solution that can be used in a variety of ways, from factories to the home. In Facility and Maintenance roles, professionals will likely rely on purchasing products wrapped in plastic, or in plastic bottles, as well as plastic gloves, cloths with plastic in and plastic buckets. We’ve seen this increase in recent years as well, with the demand for PPE during the Covid-19 pandemic.


New technology means that there are sustainable alternatives available on the market, but in regard to health and safety, it can often feel safer and easier to simply use cheap, disposable products. However, with concern about climate change on the rise, is this still the best choice for your business? We take a look at some of the reasons that using plastic is harming your business — as well as the environment.


Damage to wildlife and natural habitats

Firstly, it’s important to understand why plastic is so damaging, and therefore why we should avoid using it where we can. For a start, most plastic is made from chemicals that come from fossil fuels, such as gas and oil.


Plastic causes serious harm to the environment, as it takes many years to break down. A single throwaway plastic bag can remain on the planet for 500 years and when burnt, releases toxic fumes into the atmosphere. Even when it degrades, the risk isn’t over — as it breaks down, tiny pieces of plastic end up in the ocean and are mistaken for food by marine life which increases their risk of choking. It can even make its way into our food cycle through water, so humans and domestic animals can suffer too. This can happen from washing clothes that contain microplastics, too — so you’ll also want to consider the protective clothing that you’re buying for your team.


If we want to create a more sustainable, eco-friendly future, we need to reduce our reliance on plastics. Businesses have an opportunity to lead the way, and therefore make a large difference.


Increasing criticism of non-sustainable practices

Awareness around the need to move away from plastic is increasinging in society, thanks to campaigns and research. As a result, many consumers, particularly from younger generations, are looking for sustainable alternatives to choose in their purchasing decisions. In fact, recent research has shown that 54% of Gen Z shoppers are willing to spend 10% more on sustainable products. This just demonstrates how important sustainability will be in the market moving forward in the future.


Not only will going greener make your company popular with shoppers, but you may also find that it affects the makeup of your staff team. Many millennial and Gen Z workers are looking to join companies that share their values, so you risk missing out on top talent if they care about sustainability.


Pitching for work

As a Maintenance professional, you may need to pitch your services to clients, if you cover a range of sites rather than just one company. The client may have sustainability guidelines that they need to adhere to, or internal pressure to go greener themselves, and ditching plastic might help you stand out from the crowd.


In some cases, particularly governmental contracts, the client may not be able to hear pitches from companies that don’t meet their sustainability requirements.


Better for the planet, better for business

It’s clear that reducing our reliance on plastics is the way forward for businesses. This can feel like a daunting task, especially if you rely on plastics regularly in your daily tasks. It’s worth putting some time into researching sustainable alternatives, so that when your plastic items run out, you can replace them with new, eco-friendly products.


Alternatively, if this feels overwhelming, or you want professional advice, you could consider consulting a sustainability expert to review the changes you could make to your business.