Ditching Paper Cups: A Bold Step Towards Sustainable Coworking

Chahna Baksani
Chahna Baksani
Chahna Baksani is the Social Media Manager as well as a Content Writer at The Address. If you ever happen to visit The Address' Ahmedabad offices, do not miss to stop by and say Hi to her.

With climate change looming, businesses are seeking ways to contribute positively to the environment. Sustainable coworking spaces are now a priority. It’s no more just about products; it’s about sustainability, too.

Consumers are warm towards the idea of buying greener products. When 10,281 global consumers are asked if they care about a sustainable lifestyle, they overwhelmingly answer yes:

  • 78% agree on the importance of environmental sustainability and express a genuine desire to lead more sustainable lives.
  • 63% have made efforts to adopt greener buying habits and modify their lifestyles towards sustainability.

Image Source: Theroundup

With consumers, especially millennials, choosing brands that embrace purpose and sustainability, there is no better time to seek innovative solutions for a greener future than now.

So how can you make your coworking spaces eco-friendly? 

One area that stands out as a significant contributor to environmental degradation is the use of paper cups. By ditching paper cups, you can take a bold step towards the goal of sustainable coworking space. So be with us as this post gives you a closer look into creating sustainable coworking by highlighting sustainable alternatives to paper cups

The Environmental Toll of Paper Cups 

We often overlook paper cups’ manufacturing process and post-disposal fate, as we are accustomed to seeing them in their finished form. 

Let’s talk about the dark side of paper cups. 

Even if the term “paper” sounds innocuous, it is misleading. The paper industry is among the most environmentally-damaging industries in the world. 

Think about it: paper cups are made of paper that comes from trees, which means trees are cut down. 

Annually, more than 20 million trees are cut solely to produce disposable paper cups. A staggering 42% of global wood harvest goes into paper and pulp production. As we speak, 199 tons of paper have been produced, and more than 386 million hectares of forests are wiped out. 

And it’s not just about deforestation. The production process guzzles enormous amounts of energy and water. Approximately one pound of CO2 emissions is generated for every four paper cups produced. Not to mention the massive carbon print left by transportation and distribution.

More pressingly, most paper cups end up in landfills where they release methane. Being a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, methane traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.

But didn’t we also think the paper is recyclable?

Paper cups are made up of two main parts: paper and polyethylene. While the polyethylene liner prevents the cup from becoming soggy, it is also the one that contaminates the paper waste stream. 

It’s not that it’s impossible to recycle single-use paper cups. Technically, it is. But they need separate collections due to their waterproof plastic lining. This makes paper cups challenging to recycle through a general process. 

The good news is that you can yield a significant impact by making small changes and preventing further environmental damage. Opting out of single-use paper cups and enjoying your coffee in a reusable mug is a simple yet effective solution for a sustainable coworking space.

Embracing Reusability for Sustainable Coworking 

Single-use cups eliminate the need for washing, resulting in potential energy and water cost savings for your company. However, the continuous replenishment of these cups may outweigh any initial savings, particularly if multiple cups are required throughout the workday.

A highly effective solution to this is—the use of reusable cups in coworking spaces. Reusable cups can eliminate the need for disposable single-use cups, leading to substantial waste reduction and fostering a sustainable coworking space culture.

But you might wonder about the environmental impact of manufacturing reusable cups. Agreed. Their production consumes more energy compared to plastic-lined paper cups. But the long-term usage of reusable cups outweighs this concern. Reusables have a longer lifespan, resulting in fewer disposals and reduced landfill waste. Additionally, most reusable cups are made from eco-friendly materials and do not have a plastic lining. 

To select a reusable cup for sustainable coworking, consider options such as stainless steel, ceramic, glass, bamboo, and husk. Each material has advantages and disadvantages, so weighing the pros and cons before deciding is essential.

Glass and CeramicHighly sustainable Can be reused many timesDo not release toxic chemicals during landfill decompositionOnly 6 uses to offset the energy used for glass cup production Only 15 uses to offset the energy used for ceramic cup production
Stainless steelGreenest and cleanest reusable material Recyclable without loss of valueCan be melted and transformed into various items
HuskMade from coffee production waste huskDurable and exist in a sustainable closed-loop system
BambooEco-friendly and renewableMade from fast-growing Bamboo plantsBiodegradable

So, what initiatives can you implement to encourage reusable cups and promote sustainable coworking in India? We have some solutions to contribute here. 

Don’t worry. These initiatives are achievable with a modest effort. We can say that because many are already a norm at The Address. Take a look—

Source: Instagram

Top 7 Innovative Solutions to Promote Sustainable Coworking

1. Bring Your Own Reusable Bottle (BYORB): A Great Place to Start

Promote sustainable coworking by encouraging coworkers to bring their own reusable bottles. Set up designated refill stations for easy access. Communicate the benefits of this approach to inspire eco-friendly choices. 

This approach reduces waste and saves time for the office manager. Besides, it allows for allocating funds towards enjoyable office perks such as fruit or snacks.

2. Get Custom Bottles and Cups Made for Sustainable Workspace

When starting a BYORB initiative, investing in custom-made reusable bottles and cups is a logical choice. These items offer functionality and act as powerful branding tools for sustainable coworking spaces.

By designing unique and stylish options, coworking spaces can create a sense of identity and pride among members while reducing their environmental impact. Plus, it also helps them optimize their coworking space retention.  

Consider including reusable bottles as a ‘Welcome to Your New Office’ gift. If you have to pinch pennies, opt for affordable alternatives like waterproof stickers for employees to personalize their own bottles.

Encourage employees to keep their custom bottles at work and display them proudly on their desks, fostering a shift towards sustainable choices among plastic cup users.

3. Encourage the Use of Reusable Cups 

Sustainable coworking companies can take various actions to encourage using reusable cups among coworkers. 

They can start by providing easily accessible cup storage areas, such as designated cup holders or shelves, to promote the habit of bringing and storing reusable cups. 

Additionally, implementing incentives like discounts or rewards for using reusable cups at onsite cafes or coffee machines can motivate coworkers to choose sustainable options. 

Creating awareness through informative signage, email campaigns, and visually appealing posters can effectively highlight the environmental benefits of using reusable cups. 

Lastly, sustainable coworking companies should lead by example by ensuring that staff and management actively utilize and advocate for reusable cups.

4. Spread the Message through Sustainability-Themed Events 

Organizing sustainability-themed events is key to spreading the message of sustainable coworking and engaging coworkers in eco-friendly practices. 

As a sustainable coworking office space, you can host workshops, seminars, and interactive activities on waste reduction, recycling, and sustainable living.

Additionally, hosting “Green Day” or “Sustainability Fair” events featuring local eco-friendly businesses shed light on sustainable options. 

Collaborating with environmental groups for panel discussions further inspires and educates coworkers. By incorporating sustainability-themed events, sustainable coworking spaces foster a community actively embracing eco-friendly practices and making positive environmental changes.

5. Reward and Reinforce the Positive Behaviour

You might already be using it in the office when you give a shout-out to an employee over Slack. It’s a powerful technique to motivate and reinforce positive behaviors.

By recognizing and praising employees who bring their reusable bottles to work, you inspire others to adopt the same habit, which eventually becomes part of their routine.

You can also implement reward systems and recognition programs to incentivize the use of reusable cups. Whether through loyalty programs, discounts, or small tokens of appreciation, sustainable coworking spaces can motivate members to adopt sustainable practices and contribute to a greener workspace.

6. Set up Efficient Systems for Cup Collection, Cleaning, and Redistribution

You’ll need efficient logistics to implement reusable cup systems in sustainable coworking in India successfully. It hinges on well-defined procedures for collecting, cleaning, and redistributing cups. This way, you ensure a seamless and hygienic experience for members. Here’s what you can do—

  • Strategically place designated cup collection points throughout the coworking space, such as near coffee stations or communal areas.
  • Guide members on where to return their used cups through clear signage and instructions.
  • Implement regular collection schedules to prevent cups from piling up and to maintain a clean and organized environment.
  • Have a dedicated cup washing area equipped with proper cleaning tools.
  • Establish standard cleaning protocols and train staff to handle cleaning efficiently.
  • Ensure streamlined redistribution using reusable cup stations where members can exchange their used cups for clean ones. This ensures that members always have access to clean cups.
  • Regular maintenance and inspection are equally crucial to identify any concerns promptly. Monitor cup inventory, check for worn-out cups, and address any maintenance needs to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of the system.

7. Join Forces with Sustainable Product Suppliers

Collaborating with sustainable product suppliers is a smart move to boost sustainable coworking. Teaming up with suppliers prioritizing eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes is one way. It enables sustainable coworking spaces to get their hands on high-quality reusable cups and other sustainable products. 

This partnership supports sustainable businesses’ growth and sends a powerful message about your commitment to building a greener and more sustainable workspace. 

To Take Away

Environmental consciousness is not a choice; it’s an imperative. By adopting these eco-friendly practices, you can minimize your carbon footprint and enhance the overall experience for you and your employees. 

It’s time to make a choice that goes beyond business as usual. Join The Address, the premium coworking space and experience the difference firsthand. From our eco-friendly practices to our thoughtfully designed workspace, we’ve created an environment where you can embrace the power of sustainability. 

Say goodbye to the traditional office and embrace a greener, more fulfilling way of working. Together, let’s redefine coworking and pave the way for a sustainable future. Join The Address and be a part of a community that believes in making a difference. Your journey towards a sustainable workspace starts here. Chat with us and schedule a visit today.