With awareness of the issues of unethical single-use plastics on the rise, it is important for businesses to actively tackle the issue and in turn help customers to do the same.

However, is it possible to make this profitable for your business?

We’ve outlined three ideas that businesses can quickly put in place and see immediate results from:

Disposable coffee cups vs bring your own

There’s an ongoing war on disposable coffee cups, many of which contain plastics that mean they can’t be recycled, but you could turn this into a positive for your business.

Paper cups cost money, so when someone brings their own you can make an immediate saving. Incentivise customers to do so by upgrading their drink to the next size up, which will appeal to them but cost you less than the price of your cups.

You could also consider selling a range of the higher-end reusable cups. Stainless steel and glass vessels might appeal to your customers as they are more aesthetically pleasing.

Why not run a tasting event using them to demonstrate how well they work? Customers might just recycle their plastic one in favour of one that you’re stocking.

Don’t forget to see if there are ways to brand your merchandise – rubber collars with your logo on are a perfect way to protect your customers’ hands from the heat while getting your brand out there at the same time.

Plastic bags vs paper or cloth

Paper and cloth bags are the more expensive options, but by having these available you will be placing yourself favourably in your customers’ minds.

Paper bags feel nostalgic and have a limited number of uses, but cloth bags can be branded and sold. Cloth bags are a great way to promote your brand as your customers will use them for other shopping.

If you go down the route of a cloth bag consider a fun design and include your logo. It may seem a bit ‘old hat’ but fewer and fewer people are selling tote bags now.

Takeaway packaging

Takeaway packaging is often made using lots of plastic and polystyrene, so how can you make a difference? It could be easier than you think.

Boxes made of recycled sugar cane are now available on the market that are perfect for hot and cold food.

You could offer people who bring their own takeaway box a discount, or try selling tiffin boxes to encourage customers to get into the habit of bringing their own.

There are lots of other little changes your business can make that will make a difference to the environment, your bottom line and your customers perception of your business.

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