News & Blog

Addressing plastic waste is at the heart of what we do…

Written by: Geoff Leask, CEO of Young Enterprise Scotland

“I want to change the world” is a phrase I hear most days of the week. Young people aren’t just the leaders of tomorrow’s organisations, they are already influencing huge changes to the way businesses operate, right now.

Whether it’s through social media, creating impactful hashtag campaigns, writing online or taking part in peaceful protests, there are many ways that young people ‘can be the change.’ In the case of Young Enterprise Scotland, our young people have been the driving force in creating organisational change – especially when it comes to doing our bit within our own working environment.

When asked to consider writing a blog in support of Circular Glasgow’s #sendplasticpacking campaign, I immediately thought about the levels of single-use plastic waste we generate and what simple steps YES could take to eliminate it. After considerable thought, it occurred to me that we actually have very little plastic waste.

YES are fortunate in the respect that we have a most wonderfully creative and sustainable base within Rouken Glen Park. Designed and operated with circular economy principals in mind, whereby every product is created with the intention of extending its life span, the idea of reducing single-use plastic has always been at the heart of what we do. Initiatives on-site include removing plastic single use bottles and cups from our centre, while repurposing resources that have been discarded by others, such as plastic pallets to create window boxes and nesting boxes.

Addressing excessive use of single-use plastic seemed like a natural first step. Our next role, was to influence others, including our supporters and suppliers, to do the same.

A recent example was working in partnership with our venue host for our two-day conference. Together we replaced all single use bottles with reusable alternatives and in support of Scottish Water’s campaign, promoted the consumption of tap water. We also worked hard to encourage our exhibitors to think twice about the usual hand out ‘plastic throwaway paraphernalia’- how much of this simply ends up in landfill!?

For us, addressing single-use plastic was only the start of a far bigger systematic shift for YES. From the disposable, throwaway mentality we’re now focusing our attentions firmly towards activity that builds long-term resilience for the organisation, whether that be generating business and economic opportunities, and/or providing environmental and societal benefits. We have already started by looking at the materials we use, the suppliers we engage and the methodology for our work. In a few months’ time we will have new classroom space constructed from re-purposed shipping containers, demonstrating yet another innovative use and life expansion of everyday items.

Returning to where I started with the young person wanting to change the world – (s)he might not be able to change the entire world single handed, but together we can make a significant impact for future generations.

#sendplasticpacking – join us in making your promise today.

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