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Study reveals 80% of staff want a more sustainable workplace

Eight out of 10 office employees would like their workplace to be more environmentally-friendly, according to an Essity survey.

Around 60 per cent believe their colleagues would also react positively to more eco-friendly practices by employers. And 46 per cent believe the green initiatives taken by their bosses are often an afterthought.

Top workplace sustainability gripes among staff members include a lack of food waste bins; computers left turned on all day and night; no options for recycling used paper towels, and no provision for charging electric cars.

Essity Sales Manager, Lee Radki, said: “Over the past 18 months there has been a definite shift in our general attitudes towards how to be environmentally friendly. People seem to be taking the issue more seriously than ever before.

“Working from home has prompted people to give more thought to their own actions towards the future of the planet, and it seems many had assumed their employers would do the same. We spend so much time in the workplace that it’s a perfect place to set an example.”

The Essity survey of 2,000 office workers was held to mark the UK launch of Tork PaperCircle, the world’s first recycling service for paper towels. Tork PaperCircle enables businesses to reduce their environmental footprint by 40 per cent by creating a closed loop system for used washroom hand towels. These are collected by Tork PaperCircle sustainability partners and taken to local recycling centres where they are turned into other tissue products.

AstraZeneca – the multinational pharmaceutical company behind one of the world’s most widely-administered Covid-19 vaccines – was among the UK’s first Tork PaperCircle customers. And in November 2021 the service was showcased at COP26, the leading global climate change summit held at Glasgow’s Scottish Event Campus.

Other workplace gripes in the Essity sustainability study included a failure to introduce car-sharing drives; a lack of cycle-to-work schemes and a shortage of bicycle storage facilities, with 27 per cent of respondents calling on employers to encourage green commuting.

Staff members also complained about electric hand dryers using energy in the washrooms and the provision of single-use water cups. And 48 per cent believed that cost concerns were preventing their employers from encouraging more sustainable practices.

Top eco-unfriendly practices still seen in British offices

1. No food waste bin

2. People putting food in the general waste

3. People mixing recycling

4. Computers always being connected to charging cables

5. Lights buzzing all day

6. Computers left on at night

7. No electric car charging ports

8. No option to recycle used paper towels

9. The printer endlessly churning out paper

10. No incentive to encourage people to use electric vehicles


About Sarah OBeirne

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