Ditch the Plastic Cups: How to Start a BYOB Initiative in Your Office
Often times, the Office Manager is on the front lines of a continuous battle between those employees who value convenience and those who prioritize environmental impact. From balancing the office’s budget to fielding all types of employee complaints, the Office Manager is almost always stuck between a rock and a hard place.
As with any daunting task, it’s best to start small. And implementing a Bring Your Own Reusable Bottle initiative is a great place to start.
Rather than stocking and restocking sky-scrapers of plastic cups in your kitchen, reduce your plastic waste exponentially by encouraging employees to take their favorite canteen into work with them. This BYOB approach will not only save the Office Manager time, but save money — money that can be reinvested in something everyone in the office will love, like fruit or snacks!
Don’t left the office kitchen battles continue: check out these 5 tactful ways to get everyone on board — and even excited about — the new BYOB initiative.
Green Strategy #1: Form an eco-minded task force
Remember: there’s strength in numbers.
Whether you’re an Office Manager or an environmentally-conscious employee, it’s best to have a team of people behind you when proposing a new and drastic change to life at the office.
Don’t face the rebuttals and complaints alone. Gather a squad, inform them of the change and its rationale, and let the company know that there’s a whole group of excited employees ready to answer any questions that may come up.
Especially at larger companies, where it’s unlikely everyone knows each other on a first name basis, try to involve a few people from each department in your sustainability task force. Employees are more likely to trust and support the people they work with everyday than a faceless email announcement from someone they’ve never met.
Before kicking-off your BYOB program, be sure to form a squad of people who can help hype up its positive, environmental impact, as well as field any comments or concerns different departments may have.
Green Strategy #2: The long distance relationship
Is this your recycling bin? Looks like it’s time to get Bevi.
For some offices, getting rid of plastic cups might be as simple as never buying them again. In other offices, however, the transition might not be as smooth. If you’re worried about an impromptu employee mutiny, there are several ways to ease your office into a more zero-waste approach to water cooler talk.
After launching your BYOB program, try leaving only a small stack of plastic cups in plain sight. Chances are, many folks won’t go looking — or won’t know where to look — when the stack disappears. This will help to incentivize people to bring in their bottles, since having to find and restock the plastic cups is more effort than carrying your own bottle. You might get some annoyed comments about the lack of cups over Slack, but stay strong! Tell these folks where they can find more cups, but don’t restock them yourself.
If your office isn’t equipped with reusable glassware, keeping an emergency pack of single-use cups on hand is kind of a must — especially if you frequently have visitors. In this case, stash the solo cups away in a secret cabinet or drawer, and reveal them only when you’re expecting guests.
In general, if the BYOB initiative is more controversial than you planned, relieve separation anxiety by making the transition from plastic cups as gradual and reasonable as possible.
Green strategy #3: Get custom bottles made for your office
If you’ve got the budget, this is a no brainer.
What better way to launch your BYOB initiative than to purchase a personalized or company-branded (or both!) reusable bottle for each of your employees.
Many companies that are both getting a Bevi and moving into a completely new office space like to include reusable bottles as part of a ‘Welcome to Your New Office’ gift for each employee. Broadly speaking, moving into a new space is the perfect occasion to put new, eco-friendly systems in place!
While not every office has the funds to purchase bottles for everyone, there are many work-arounds. Water proof stickers are a simple and affordable way to get employees hyped about showing off their newly decorated reusable bottle around the office. Have your designers create a whole series of stickers to pick and choose from, or get everyone a decal of their name. Another solution is to work with your team to select and design a bottle that people can order on their own if they so choose — this works well in offices in which most people already have a favorite bottle, and may not need the company topurchase one for them.
Once your custom bottles arrive, encourage folks to leave them at work. With shiny, new reusable bottles on their desks, the die-hard plastic cup users will surely become BYOB champions.
Green Strategy #4: Reinforce — and reward! — positive behaviors
At Bevi, we love giving shoutouts over Slack or in our HR portal, Namely.
Ever heard of intermittent reinforcement conditioning? If you haven’t, all you need to know is this: it works! As foreign as this term may sound, chances are it’s something you’re already doing in the office. Each time you randomly give a shoutout to an employee over Slack, you are using the power of intermittent conditioning to motivate and reinforce positive behaviors!
The true beauty of intermittent conditioning lies in the fact that you only have to reward behaviors occasionally in order to reinforce them. In knowing that they might get recognition for their positive behavior, employees will start to make good habits part of their normal routine, whether it’s helping to clean out the fridge or bringing their reusable bottle into work.
Don’t take this the wrong way: we’re not suggesting you treat your co-workers like Pavlov’s dogs!
All we’re saying is that highlighting or rewarding someone who has brought their reusable bottle into work is a really great way to motivate that individual — and others — to keep your BYOB initiative going strong.
Green Strategy #5: Proudly share positive results
A toast, to all those who use a reusable bottle. Cheers!
Similar to Green Strategy #4, keep your BYOB program top-of-mind by frequently sharing how it has positively impacted your office and beyond.
In addition to a company-wide email or appreciation post, go big and briefly share results in the next All Hands meeting. If eliminating plastic cups has saved you enough money to buy more snacks for your office, put a sign on the fridge or water cooler explaining how the new treats are the fruits of your office’s collective labor!
For companies that have an explicitly environmental mission, your newly instated BYOB initiative could be a great occasion to brag about your company’s awesomeness on social media. Some companies might even opt to highlight an eco-warrior of the month; in other words, give a shoutout to an employee that has gone above and beyond when it comes to keeping things green at work.
Whether you’re a small startup or an international corporation, a Bring Your Own Reusable Bottle initiative is a simple and effective way to reduce your office’s footprint.