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Week in Review: Jan. 3-7, 2022

Jan. 7, 2022
A look at some stories of interest for safety professionals

On paper, especially when you’ve got a new calendar, a new year can feel like a fresh start.

In reality, a new year is more of the same problems that you were’ dealing with a few days ago (even though that’s so last year).

We’re caught somewhere in between. We’re planning for the short-term and long-term, but we’re also still grappling with present issues. Chief among those: the fact that the United States is reporting over 500,000 cases of COVID-19 per day, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

EHS Today will continue to provide you the latest guidance and advice on how to keep your workers safe. We also want you to keep yourself safe. These are difficult times, and the only way we’ll get through them is together. Stay safe, be well and take care yourself.

Ditch the Diet

It’s a new year, which means you’re likely seeing a barrage of ads and sales diet programs, supplements and meal plans designed to help you lose weight.

This year, resolve instead to enjoy your food, not limit or restrict your caloric intake.

We are all about this piece from The New York Times that explains the reasons why diets don’t work—and it’s not because you are in some way a failure. “A diet is an unpleasant and short-lived way to try to lose weight,” said Traci Mann, Ph.D., professor at the University of Minnesota and author of a book on the science of weight loss. “You might take it off in the short term, but it comes back. It happens no matter who you are; it happens to people with great willpower and to people with crappy willpower.”

Instead, weight researchers are suggesting a different approach to getting healthy: eating based on brain science. These techniques involve being mindful and aware of eating habits and our behaviors. This includes advice like avoid labeling foods as “good” or “bad” and focusing on the foods’ tastes and textures.

Read the full article here and then go eat that piece of chocolate cake.

Paper or Plastic?

This is no longer a question you’re hearing at the check-out lanes. Instead, you’re about to see a lot more products at the grocery store, among other places, using paper (or cardboard) instead of plastic.

It’s a call made by consumers, investors, boards and governments that is being answered by Graphic Packaging Holding, a packaging material supplier to companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kellogg, General Mills, Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark.

This piece from The Wall Street Journal details significant investments Graphic has made to develop cardboard packaging. For Graphic, getting to this point has required new machinery and operations changes over the past few years that also allow the company to practice what it preaches.

“We are attacking anything that is plastic,” said Matt Kearns, a packaging designer for Graphic.

The efforts to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions have spurred developments in environmental, social and governance (ESG). But figuring out exactly how to have a smaller environmental footprint isn’t easy, cheap or even straightforward.

For some companies, being eco-friendly actually means using more plastic. And the plastics industry is touting its own benefits while trying to adapt to the changing marketplace, too.

Read the full article here.

Editor’s Note: EHS Today is launching a monthly sustainability newsletter to bring you news, best practices and current trends involved in environmental stewardship, global sustainability, and the emergence of social and corporate governance within the workplace. Click here to subscribe. 

Toxic Work Environments

You may love watching reruns of Michael Scott’s antics, but you probably wouldn’t like experiencing some of the cringeworthy moments from “The Office” in real life. If you did, you probably would look for another job.

It’s no surprise, then, that an estimated one in five U.S. workers have left a job because of a toxic workplace culture. That has serious implications for companies that are facing labor shortages, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and The Great Resignation. In November 2021, 4.5 million U.S. workers quit their jobs, up from 4.2 million in October 2021.

That means that companies of all sizes and across industries will need to devote time, talent and resources to creating, developing or improving the work culture. This ensures existing workers feel safe and supported—thereby improving retention and productivity—while also attracting a talent pool that values diversity, equity and inclusion.

“The younger generation of our workforce have been raised to speak truth to power and to speak out when they see a wrong that needs addressing,” said Janine Yancey, founder and CEO of Emtrain, an organization that has recorded more than 20 million employee sentiment responses about behaviors in the workplace, to the BBC. “That generational characteristic, in combination with the power of social media, which allows people to organize online and share messages at scale, is a new framework of accountability that didn’t exist even a few years ago. But it exists now, and it’ll get even stronger as boomers and Gen Xers retire.”

Read the full article here.  

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