A Sheffield-based company has announced plans to make it a disciplinary offence to bring single-use plastic into the office.
Intelligent Hand Dryers will change employee contracts so that if staff receive three warnings and continue to ignore them, they could be sacked. The ban was introduced last month, and includes disposable coffee cups with plastic linings, plastic water bottles and sandwich packets with plastic windows.
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While many employers encourage and incentivise more sustainable behaviour among staff, IHD is believed to be the first to make it a condition of employment.
In a blog explaining the thinking behind the ban, IHD’s owner Andrew Cameron said: “I have been driving my staff mad about reducing our environmental impact… They have heard me banging on about turning the lights off, complaining about all the packaging in the bins and wasted paper, lecturing about the environment.”
Staff were consulted about their thoughts on ways to improve the company’s environmental footprint and the company has already run a trial ban, which was well received.
Cameron added: “We have already provided reusable bottles and staff are now encouraged to use the local sandwich shop and eat in rather than take-out packaging from supermarkets.”
“This is a double positive as it forces the workaholics in the office to take a bit of time out of the office to enjoy their lunch rather than rush back and eat at their desks.” There have also been free fruit and cakes to save staff bringing in snacks in plastic wrapping.
If staff repeatedly flouted the ban he would feel justified in dismissing them, he added, because this would “basically be saying I don’t care about the mentality of this business and what we are trying to do… We have to walk the walk.”
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I can see a lot of unfair dismissal claims succeeding in this company. Don’t think someone bringing plastic to work would count as a fair reason for dismissal.
Just like smoking. Once it’s banned and settled down it becomes a blessing in disguise.
I hope many companies will follow
Introducing water bottles, subsidising sandwiches and supporting a local business. And fully involving the staff in the ultimate decision of whether or not to introduce the plan. Seems fairly forward thinking to me. Well done Andy
Hi. I’m an employee of this company and just want to make sure people are clicking through to the blog post you have linked to in this article which explains what is happening better for people to see? It lets people know the other side of the story from an employee perspective and how we were all fully consulted and included. This is one of many proposals in a trial period to become a more environmentally friendly company who “walk the walk” not just greenwash by promoting the environment, sell products which are better for the environment yet don’t “practice what we preach”. As I say it is still in a trial period that we are all to vote on democratically whether we want this written into contracts to make a statement of where we stand as a team. The blog includes a video of us all being part of the process and at the bottom other staff blogs highlighting how they have got on so far.