Melon Offices Go Plastic-Free

We strive to conduct business in ways that will have a positive impact on our team mates, partners, and the communities we interact with. As a company, we believe it’s important to consider the social and environmental footprint of everything we do today and how it could affect all of us and our future.

When drafting our CSR policy, as part of our effort to incorporate environmental and social concerns into our business, we saw that Melon’s developers are very eager and care deeply about preserving the environment. That’s why we, as a company, put special effort in becoming plastic-free. And that’s just the beginning of our journey to a more sustainable development. 

By definition, as pinned down for the first time in the Brundtland Report in 1987, sustainable development is the idea that human societies must live and meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 

To reduce the company’s environmental footprint, we’ve already focused on recycling at our offices and now we decided to go plastic-free.

Why?

Plastic is already all around us. It is sturdy, light, extremely cheap and comes in all forms and sizes. We create an awful lot of plastic products due to their low cost and ease of manufacture. Most of the plastic items we use do not get recycled and a huge number of those products are meant to be used only once before being discarded. All of this led to problems like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the constant presence of microplastics in our food chain. 

Plastic items may take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills. For example, plastic bags take approximately 10-20 years to degrade,  and plastic bottles – around 450 years. 

At this point, the best solution to the global plastic problem is to eliminate the use of disposable plastic items and reduce the use of other plastic items.

Many software development companies in Bulgaria have already taken steps towards fixing the problem. At Melon, we analyzed our use of plastic thoroughly and explored possible substitutes for all our offices in Bulgaria and Macedonia. Basically, we replaced all plastic items with more environmental-friendly alternatives. Here is the list: 

- We’ve provided our team mates with shared glass lunch boxes to take with them when they buy ready-made food. After each use, the lunch boxes are properly washed and made available again, just like ceramic plates. 

- We no longer buy plastic water gallons, instead we installed machines for filtered tap water in our offices.

- No more plastic containers for hand & dishwashing soap. We ordered reusable containers, and we are exploring other options for detergents.

- We replaced  dish sponges and kitchen cloths with biodegradable cellulose alternatives.

- We do not use plastic straws. If we ever need straws, paper substitutes are the way to go.

- No more regular trash bags. The biodegradable alternatives are quite expensive. So, we have switched to using recycled trash bags until the biodegradable solution becomes more accessible.

- We replaced all plastic cups, dishes, and cutlery with ceramic reusable ones.

- We no longer buy plastic bottles.

- We’ve replaced wet wipes with bio-friendly hand sanitizers.

- Okay, coffee is important, and we cannot simply stop ordering it, but we’ve switched from plastic or aluminum packages to freshly-baked coffee in paper bags.

- Our offices love milk. We’ve replaced the ordinary milk boxes with glass bottles of milk.

- Marketing is important but plastic-free has become equally important to us. That’s why we will use only recycled materials for the manufacturing of future marketing materials.

After assessing the impact, we can say that thanks to our plastic-free approach, we now eliminate 160kg+ of plastic trash per year:

- 11K+ trash bags,

- 750 milk boxes,

- 560 coffee packages,

- 230 dish sponges and kitchen cloths,

- 127 hand soap bottles,

- 100+ soft drinks bottles,

- 90 dish soap bottles.

Additionally, at our offices in Bulgaria, we have containers for plastic bottle caps. We gather them to give them to the charity organization Caps for Future. They collected around 70 tons of plastic caps and the money they raised from the recycling supported 35 hospitals to buy incubators for newborns. 

As expected, many of the bio-degradable alternatives are costlier than their cheap plastic counterparts. But by paying more now, we believe we’re investing in a better, more sustainable future for our communities. And we do believe that no matter how small our contribution is compared to the use of plastic items worldwide, taking small steps is the right course of action. 

Not much is certain during these extraordinary times, but one thing is for sure, we are doing our best to protect the environment and the wellbeing of our team mates.