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.
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.”