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Top 5 ways to keep your office food and drink ethical

It can feel daunting to try and transform your office into an environmentally-friendly workplace, but one easy way is to change up your food and drink habits.

With almost a third of our lives spent in our workplace, it’s important to be as environmentally-friendly as we might be at home. It might seem a bit challenging, but changing up your office catering to be more ethical is actually quite simple.

Offer ethical tea and coffee
Probably the simplest way to change up the office’s approach to consumption is to offer more ethical tea, coffee, milk and sugar. You can provide the same drinks, but with options that are kind to both the planet and its people. Fairtrade coffee ensures that producers are paid fairly, and the Rainforest Alliance certification makes sure that the environment isn’t damaged. You can also serve alternative milks, and buy certified sustainable sugar.

Encourage veggie and vegan days
If you’re serving up lunch, why not encourage the team to try ethical food with veggie and vegan options? Eating vegetarian for one day a week can save millions of gallons of water and save billions of crops from being used. It also reduces the use of petrol, land, and antibiotics, as well as the release of ammonia emissions. A vegetarian or vegan-only lunch, or even just giving more options, can go a long way.

Serve sustainable food
If you can’t commit to the veggie or vegan lifestyle full-time at work, you can help the office lower its impact on the environment by serving sustainable food. Dishes with tuna and shrimp, which have a big impact on the rest of the marine food chain, should be avoided if possible. Overfished varieties, such as cod, can be replaced by farmed bass and seabream. Try to buy locally-grown and produced food where you can, and support local farms for items such as meat, milk and eggs.

Recycle and compost
There are plenty of recycling schemes already incorporated into the workplace, but there’s no harm in reminding staff that recycling and composting options are available. Get senior staff to set an example, and make sure people know exactly what goes where. Try to keep the office recycling points as the only place to dispose of waste, rather than having individual bins that people won’t sort. Composting food waste can also be incorporated easily – why not give the office plants a helping hand? Coffee grounds also make an excellent fertilizer.

Make the washing up eco-friendly
Trying to get everyone to do the dreaded chore of washing up can be difficult, so it’s common to see dishwashers in the workplace. Badly-managed washing cycles that aren’t full are a waste of water, so make sure everyone knows how best to use the facilities in place. You can also buy eco-friendly dishwasher tablets and washing up liquid to help reduce the environmental impact. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you’re using reusable cups and plates to eliminate wastage.


Images courtesy of Press Association



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