New research has revealed that just one in seven UK businesses is making the effort to go plastic-free, despite ongoing conversations surrounding the ‘war on plastic.’

Conducted by MarketDojo, the study quizzed more than 600 UK-based businesses on their attitudes towards preserving the environment and waste reduction. The research revealed that the requirement of manpower (57%), costs (53%) and underappreciating how much impact one business can have (47%), were the main reasons for not employing plastic-free initiatives.

The study also revealed the top five environmental initiatives currently employed by UK business. Topping the list was business-wide recycling at 74%, encouraging staff to carpool or cycle to work followed second at 58% and cutting back on or eliminating office paper use was third at 47%. Coming in fourth place at 36% was the use of green cleaning products, and recycling technology or furniture came in fifth at 25%.

Of the businesses that were employing plastic-free initiatives, 62% were using sustainable suppliers, 57% were conducting regular waste audits and 52% were banning disposable cups. Businesses encouraging minimal packaging throughout the supply chain came in at 43% and 37% were using recycled office supplies.

The study also quizzed the businesses on costs, revealing that 46% experienced rising costs due to funding the plastic-free initiatives, while 89% believed they would be beneficial in the long run.

MarketDojo co-founder and CEO Alun Rafique said: “Every single one of us can make a difference if we put in the effort and businesses do have a huge part to play in cleaning up the environment.

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“If every business leader made a conscious effort to ban plastic in the office, ensured waste audits were carried out regularly, and shopped around for sustainable suppliers who use minimal packaging, a change could almost immediately become apparent. When it comes to helping the environment, businesses need to lead by example and justify the initial expense with the long term benefits to the greater good.”

The news follows the UK Government’s ban of the sale and use of plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds in England from next April.