A Sustainable Breakroom: It’s Easier Now Than Ever

Sustainable Breakroom | Compostable Solutions | Employee Rentention

A Sustainable Breakroom: It’s Easier Now Than Ever

Written by Katie Waxman on December 11, 2023

We love to talk about how to create a sustainable breakroom. Why? Eco-friendly, sustainable breakrooms help the planet while attracting and retaining your company’s greatest asset – talent.

So, please! Keep reading. We promise not to be boring. Let’s do more than check the boxes.  Let’s make this an adventure where everyone benefits.

Start with Sustainable Equipment

This is where the fun begins. We can have what we want in the breakroom while maintaining sustainability. Great coffee, water, soda and more. Let’s go!

  • Bean-to-cup coffee machines without filter paper. We have our favorite coffee brewers (more next month). However, skip any bean-to-cup coffee machine with filter paper and make almost any kind of drink with your coffee seed of choice. Most have telemetry, which lets your provider diagnose and correct simple issues without sending a technician to your location (lowering the carbon footprint).
  • Water units that utilize water filters for purity. We quit filling up landfills with plastic and cans. We want to make every day a BYOB day (Bring Your Own Bottle – to fill with water now…). Even with a good recycling program, only about 20% of single-use bottles are recycled. Check out these cool water filtration units from Vivreau. They are a top Coolbreakrooms pick!
  • Soda machines. Speaking of eliminating waste, there are sleek machines that offer great-tasting soda on demand without bottles or cans to recycle. SmartSoda is revolutionizing the beverage space. Shouldn’t a SmartSoda Juli fountain drink dispenser exist in every sustainable breakroom?
  • Ansa. This small-scale coffee roaster fills our hearts with excitement – and makes them beat a little faster too. With Ansa, you can roast your own coffee in your breakroom. Choose single dose or batch roasting. The future is now as Ansa shakes up coffee in a Coolbreakroom by  autonomously roasting coffee without emitting any heat.

Let’s talk products

The myth is that compostable or recycled items are not high quality.  This has been thrown out the window! Reusable items are always preferred but when we can’t, here’s a place to start.

  • Bulk snacks – Get rid of all of the small, individually packaged items. Bulk snack containers are the bomb!
  • Plant-based milk – A great alternative all day, every day.
  • Compostable coffee capsules – Now we’re excited. Companies like Metropolis Coffee in Chicago provide customers with compostable espresso coffee capsules. Check them out!
  • Compostable items can be sourced at World Centric, Emerald Brand, and Life in Green. They are all the quality we look for in a sustainable breakroom.

“Not so fun” facts

  • The amount of plastic waste dumped into our oceans is estimated to exceed 8 million tons per year, or about the weight of 1.3 million elephants. That’s a big “elephant in the room”!
  • Companies sell over 50 billion plastic water bottles each year. Each bottle takes more than 400 years to biodegrade. That is many generations from now.
  • Making a bottle of water takes 1.4 gallons of water and enough oil to fill ¼ of the bottle. Please install a filtered water system.
  • Getting that bottle from factory to fridge generates 62 g of CO2 – making the annual carbon footprint of bottled water equivalent to 5 million cars.

Eco-Friendly Breakroom | Sustainable Equipment | Recycled Solutions

Mark your recycle bins clearly

The best sustainable breakrooms have containers that are clearly marked for everything. Refuse, recycling, and composting. That’s right. Three of them. A recycling program likely won’t be successful if recyclable and compostable products go into plastic garbage bags instead of properly marked containers. Did we just mention composting in the breakroom? Absolutely. Consider a zero-waste box from Terra Cycle Zero Waste Systems.  Terracycle is simplifying recycling in breakrooms everywhere.

Get a jump on your company’s sustainability initiative by developing a plan to put concepts like these in place. Every step you take gets you closer to a more sustainable breakroom. Encourage everyone to actively participate for better success! And, keep your eyes open for more sustainable ideas becoming available soon. We’ve taken a look at what is promising to be the next wave beyond composting. Repulpability. Repulpability allows paper products to be converted back into pulp. This could mean if you cut down one tree to make paper products you won’t have to cut down another tree to make more. Coolbreakrooms will be keeping an eye out for more eco-friendly ideas for your breakroom. Contact us to discover more ways to improve the breakroom experience for your employees and the planet.