How to reduce your avoidable waste

How to reduce your avoidable waste

Our top tips;

  1. Plan your week to avoid unnecessary purchases.
  2. Invest in reusables; get a water bottle, coffee cup, and bag for life to use every day!
  3. Say no to packaging – challenge your favourite shops, supermarkets and even your place of work or study to ditch unnecessary packaging.
  4. Always think ‘Do you really need it?’

The term ‘avoidable waste ‘has been used a lot in recent UK government publications including the 25 Year Environment Plan which set targets to eliminate ‘avoidable waste’ by 2050. But what really is ‘avoidable waste’?

Many people jump straight to images of straws floating around in the oceans on Blue Planet 2 and believe they have made a significant difference by transitioning to paper straws. In reality, straws make up such a small amount of the weight of waste produced by any person or organisation that swapping from plastic to paper is not the most sustainable action you could be taking.

To make a difference we need to be aiming to consume responsibly. Try to think about the full lifecycle of what you use on a day-to-day basis. Important questions such as: “How many people are employed to collect the raw materials?”; “How much fuel is used to transport this to the manufacturing plant?” and, “How much energy is needed to dispose of at its end of life?” should be considered.  Along with all the other steps in between, this can often help you to understand that the period of time you own any product is actually often quite a small proportion of its lifecycle.

The best way to prioritise the actions you should be taking is by using the waste hierarchy:

Prevention

Ideally, we should prevent waste from being created in the first place. You can do this by making some simple changes to everyday items.

Zero Waste

Zero waste shops can be great for bulk buying food products including pasta, rice and coffee in your own containers that you can use again and again. Similarly zero packaging bathroom products including bars of shampoo, conditioner, and soap can eliminate unnecessary plastic packaging.

Lush – ‘One lorry load of solid shampoo bars holds roughly the same number of washes as 15 lorries filled with liquid shampoo, meaning less traffic on the roads- lowering your carbon footprint as well as wastage.’

Plan Ahead

Planning and preparing your weeks’ worth of meals ahead of time can reduce the need for buying lunch every day. Pre-prepared meals and “meal-deals” often come in lots of non-recyclable and/or unnecessary packaging which can also be expensive!

Go Digital

Do you need to write all of your work and lecture notes down? Are you sick of getting promotional fliers through your door or at work? Challenge it and request that you don’t receive them anymore!

Reuse

If preventing waste is unrealistic then reusing your current items is the next best option. Many shops encourage the use of reusables by charging for plastic carrier bags and discounting the price of hot drinks in a reusable coffee cup. These provide great incentives but there are plenty of things you can also do individually.

Refill App

Try downloading the ‘Refill’ app to help locate local water fountains to refill your water bottle instead of buying a single-use one.

Reusable Household Items

Reusable makeup wipes/face cloths and refillable makeup containers can help make a daily routine more sustainable. Similarly, why use kitchen roll to clean up spills in the kitchen when you can use a rotation of washable cloths?

Clothing

In a modern world of fast fashion, we are often too quick to buy new outfits for every occasion. Try asking yourself if you will wear the garment more than 20 times? If the answer is ‘no’, leave it and only invest in what you really need. When it comes to clothes you already own it is always best to repair, donate, sell and swap your old clothes so that they can be reused by somebody else instead of being discarded completely.

Freecycle

Join a local group in which members advertise a whole range of household items and clothes that you can collect for free. You can also give your old items a second life when you no longer need or want them.

Donate

This message can also be used in reference to other household belongings including electronics, books, films, and furniture! Each of the universities we work with host British Heart Foundation collections at the end of each academic year for staff and students to donate to.

Recycling

When disposing of any waste, make sure you read the signage so that you know what can and can’t be recycled. Recyclable materials tend to include paper, metal tins and cans and clear plastics. If you aren’t sure, ask us!

Recovery

Reduce your food waste by planning your weekly shops and if you still have food waste, can you compost it? Can you take it to a specialist food waste bin? Enva’s food waste is taken to anaerobic digestion with energy recovery which vastly reduces the carbon emissions when compared with food waste going into landfill or being incinerated.

To find out more what universities are doing to reduce waste, check out the ENVA universities blogs: https://enva.com/universities-blog

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-This blog post was written by Robyn Thompson, NTU alumni and the Key accounts coordinator at NTU waste contractor Enva. Many thanks from the Green Academy team. 

Want to write a blog post that’s featured on this site? Email us your ideas today at GreenAcademy@ntu.ac.uk!

Energy at NTU & what YOU can do

In the Sustainable Development Team we’re taking a step back and looking at energy usage at NTU with a fresh pair of eyes! We think there’s plenty to be done that can improve our efficiency and help reduce NTU’s environmental impact and you can help too.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7 sets out an ambition to ensure people around the world have ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’. As a signatory to these goals, we are committed to contributing towards these global efforts and so our ‘Goal 7’ project was born!

As a snapshot, our data suggests lighting left on unnecessarily in the City Campus produces over a tonne of CO2 each year! This is the same as driving the average petrol car over 5000 miles! Think about the difference we can make if we help to change this, particularly with the summer holidays on the horizon. We’ve all seen the news lately with voices around the world raising the alarm on Climate Change – we hope this post will empower you to make positive changes yourself and learn what else is going on around energy at NTU.

The Sustainable Development Team are looking at energy data, surveying high usage buildings and talking with staff from all corners of NTU to prioritise different energy projects and find solutions that will help increase efficiency and reduce total energy usage wherever possible.

We can’t do it alone though, any project like this needs help and support from everyone across the University, in fact…it starts with NTYou! Small changes alone might not always seem like they’re worth doing but don’t despair – together we can make a huge difference!

What you can do will vary depending on your role here at NTU, whether staff or student. Some top tips for reducing your energy consumption while at work and home are:

  • Turning off your PC and monitor at the end of the day
  • Making sure lights are switched off and windows are closed when leaving an empty room
  • Shutting down non-essential equipment and machinery when not in use
  • Staff can report any faults with lighting, infrastructure and machinery via the Estates HelpDesk here to ensure things are fixed promptly
  • Unplug chargers and other items when not in use
  • Stop daydreaming in the shower and keep it to 5 minutes or less
  • Don’t overfill your kettle when having a hot drink – only fill it with what you need
  • Avoid the tumble dryer – now the weathers improving look to hang your washing outside if you can
  • Consider the microwave to reheat food rather than the oven

If we all commit to doing some of the actions listed above, we’ll be well on our way to seeing significant improvements in our environmental performance as a university!

Want to know more or have any questions? Give the Sustainable Development Team a shout on sust.dev@ntu.ac.uk and follow us on social media on Twitter – @NTUEnvironment, Facebook and Instagram!

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-Thank you to Dewi Howell who is a Sustainable Development Project Coordiantor at NTU, for writing this blog post!

Want to write a blog post that’s featured on this site? Email us your ideas today at GreenAcademy@ntu.ac.uk!

HOW YOUR CLOTHING COULD POTENTIALLY IMPACT THE ENVIRONMENT

ZARA

For quite a long time when I would think of sustainability, climate change, and the environment, reduction of plastic consumption would come to mind. As far as I can remember plastic has always been a known cause of environmental problems because it’s nonbiodegradable and it produces toxic fumes when burnt, we all probably know that. What fascinated me was finding out that clothing had an impact on the environment, the debate continues as to how bad the industry is compared to the oil and gas industry.

The problem with the clothing industry it seems is the mass production and consumption of clothing and a quick disposal rate which has coined the term Fast Fashion. In simple terms, I’m sure most of you, or someone you know, owns clothing from Zara, Primark, H&M, New Look, River Island, Boohoo, Missguided, Pretty Little Thing to name a few. These brands bring the latest fashion trends from the runway and offer them to us at a low price. An example is shown below, the chunky Alexander McQueen sneakers cost about £365/ ZMW5790/ P5120 however Primark sold a very similar version for only £8/ ZMW126/ P112, which sold out quite fast. It works for us as consumers because on average, when we’re about to make a purchase dopamine “happy drug/chemical” is released in anticipation of a reward and when we see a discount or the word “sale” it spikes up (Dahl, 2017).
Source: Murphy, 2019

 

Source: Murphy, 2019
What the example above illustrates is that, as a rationale shopper who cannot afford the originals but admires the look of the sneaker, it’ll make logical sense that you go for the cheaper option. How does this impact the environment? The increase in demand for these products results in mass production in factories that are often set up in countries with less stringent environmental regulations. The factories release toxic fumes into the air containing greenhouse gases, they spill chemicals and dyes into rivers and one other major problem is that a lot of water is required in the process of growing cotton for our clothes.
Tullahan River contaminated with dyes
There are some opposing views as to whether the clothing industry is a major concern and if we should focus on more pressing matters. I can see where they are coming from but I think looking at our consumption behaviour as individuals is a way in which we can help “save the environment”, placing taxes on heavily polluting industries can only be done by our governments which means we sit and watch by the sidelines. I did not give any facts and figures as I just wanted to give an overview of what I have learned from my own research, I don’t remember exact figures but they were convincing enough to make me believe that I had to make some changes.
It is also important to note that these brands are trying to produce more ethically by sourcing their fabrics in a more sustainable manner, for instance, Zara has a Join Life collection and H&M has a Conscious line. Whether its a case of greenwashing is hard to tell but I guess they are trying. There are other purely ethical brands like Everlane, Arket, Reformation, etc but they are quite pricey.
A few tips on what you can do to make a change without spending loads of money on ethical and sustainable brands:
1. Don’t shop for the sake of it. Appreciate what is already in your closet and make the most of it instead of buying an outfit for every occasion. I personally use Pinterest on days when I can’t think of outfits to wear. I simply type in the item of clothing I want to wear e.g. black t-shirt and a bunch of suggestions come up. Sometimes I simply search ‘winter outfits/ going out outfits’ and I pick the ones that match the clothing I already own.
2. If you do feel like shopping or “treating yourself”, invest in versatile and classic pieces that go with multiple outfits finding clothing to wear will be so much easier. Look at capsule wardrobes for women and men.
3. Buy quality clothing, ‘cheap is expensive’, if you buy something cheap and it loses it shape or colour quickly then you’ll probably keep repurchasing the item and in the long term, you’ll realise that saving up for a better quality option could have been cheaper.
4. Buy from charity shops. I personally still struggle with this because I can’t always find my style and I don’t like the musty smell of the clothes but I’m trying to give it a shot.
Resources to find out about fast fashion and its environmental impact:
Building a capsule wardrobe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6Q76vYkOMI
True Cost documentary on Netflix
Stacey Dooley’ Fashion’s Dirty Secrets documentary on BBC iPlayer
NB: If you are a student at Nottingham Trent University you can take the Sustainability in Practice course on Clothing to find out more information.

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-This blog post was written by Luwi Kapepa, a student in the Nottingham Business School who completed the Clothing theme of the Sustainability in Practice Certificate 2018-19.  

Want to write a blog post that’s featured on this site? Email us your ideas today at GreenAcademy@ntu.ac.uk!

Fair Trade and Fast Fashion

Fashion is one of the biggest industries in the world, with an annual turnover of more than 3 trillion dollars. Yet the workers at the bottom of the supply chain see very little of the profits. In many countries, farmers growing cotton and garment production line workers are poorly paid and subjected to harsh working conditions, to enable us to have the latest fashion trend at the click of a button.

Cotton farmers in some of the poorest countries in the world face numerous barriers to earning a decent living, rising costs of production, climate change and a market that is distorted by subsidies given to cotton farmers in wealthier countries including the USA and China. The subsidies help to lower the market price of cotton, enabling larger producers to export their cotton for less than it costs to produce in West Africa or India (Fairtrade.org.uk 2019).

How can my choices make a difference?

The easiest way to help producers of cotton is to look for companies who use Fairtrade cotton in their clothing lines.  The Fairtrade Foundation lists a whole host of them on their website, but a few of the biggest labels include People Tree and White Stuff for men’s and women’s fashion; Little Green Radicals for childrenswear; and Constant Climbing for Sportswear.  Other Fairtrade cotton products are also available, such as bags, towels and bed linen.fair trade

Choosing Fairtrade fashion not only helps the cotton farmers but also tends to help those further along the chain, making the clothing that ends up on our high streets. A company who has chosen to invest in Fairtrade cotton suppliers is also likely to care about ethics throughout their supply chain, often setting up their own factories to ensure that workers’ rights are being met and lives are being improved.

For example, People Tree have committed to a fully traceable and transparent supply chain, monitored by the Fairtrade Foundation and the World Fairtrade Organisation (WFTO). They work closely with their suppliers to ensure that workers are treated well by their employers, in factories that are fit-for-purpose and provide training to enable workers to enhance their skills and therefore boost their incomes.

Many major clothing retails now offer more ethical lines of clothing within their brands. Whether this may be using organic cotton, or committing to the principals of Fairtrade, this is a step in a more sustainable future for fashion. The next time you are shopping, take a little more time to find out if your favourite brands are doing anything to improve the lives of people who make their clothes. Don’t like what you see? Join the #FashionRevolution and call them out.

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-Thank you to Gill Moczarski who is a Sustainable Development Assistant at NTU, for writing this blog post!

Want to write a blog post that’s featured on this site? Email us your ideas today at GreenAcademy@ntu.ac.uk!

Stand Against Fast Fashion: Fashion Revolution Week

In 2016, 1,130,000 tonnes of clothing was purchased in the UK. That’s a lot of hours we’ve spent scrolling through ASOS, browsing the clothing racks in Zara and avoiding tripping over a fugitive toddler during a Saturday morning visit to Primark. Seemingly, we also needed to make room for all our new purchases, considering a staggering 300,000 tonnes was thrown away in 2016. Our love for ‘Fast Fashion’ and throwaway culture has granted the clothing and textile industry the rather unflattering title of Second Most Polluting Industry, beaten by the oil industry only by a nose. Chemicals used to grow fibers, dye fabrics, and wash garments end up polluting rivers, damaging local ecosystems and causing health problems in the local population. The textile industry also contributes to larger environmental issues such as air pollution, habitat destruction, and ocean pollution. In addition to this, the social effects are equally as devastating. Working conditions for textile workers are often unsafe, with low wages and non-existing rights. With around 80% of the workforce being women, it turns out wearing slogan T-shirts proclaiming our ‘wokeness’ is actually contributing to upholding the very same social structures we want to dismantle.

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With the alarming reports on the urgency of climate change as well as widespread social injustice globally, this is not something to take lightly. One thing is clear – if we want to sort out this mess, action is needed on all levels, in all sectors. Consumers, as well as producers and distributors, have a role to play, pushing sustainable, ethical fashion to become accessible for all.

So, what can be done? The easy answer is buying less and choose better; however, this is a highly simplified quick-fix to a much bigger problem. By putting pressure on brands to make changes and become more transparent in their practices, consumers can use their powers to make a long-term difference. This week is Fashion Revolution Week, an initiative led by the global movement Fashion Revolution to mark the anniversary of the Rana Plaza Disaster in 2015, a factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013 which killed 1138 people and injured many more.  During this week, you are encouraged to ask your favourite brands the burning question #WhoMadeMyClothes to contribute to more transparent fashion industry.SiP Logo Clothing for events advertising pixels 881 x 585If you want to learn more about how clothing and sustainability are linked, keep your eyes out for the re-launch of the clothing version of the Sustainability in Practice Certificate in September 2019. This is a free, online course available for all students and staff at NTU, where you can explore the Sustainable Development Goals and how you can contribute to a better future.

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-Thank you to Lina Erlandsson, who is an Education for Sustainable Development Coordinator in the NTU Green Academy, for writing this blog post!

Want to write a blog post that’s featured on this site? Email us your ideas today at GreenAcademy@ntu.ac.uk!

 

Think Global Act Local – Get involved with Nottingham Green Festival

The Nottingham Green Festival is organised by grassroots community-based volunteers and is in its 27th year. This year it will be held on 15th September in the Arboretum, with at least 5,000 visitors expected to attend. It promotes ethical standards around sustainability, the environment, human rights, and animal rights. As a community-based group, the festival could not happen without the hard work and dedication of volunteers.

green fest

There are some exciting opportunities for students and staff at NTU to get involved in the organising, running or speaking at the event. Please see below for more information about the specific ways you can get involved.

Organiser roles

Nottingham Green Festival is seeking volunteers to help organise the event, related events and to join the committee. The team is especially looking for help with social media, contacting the media, graphic design, fundraising events, contacting sponsors and distributing publicity. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate and hone existing skills, learn new ones and gain valuable experience.

Speakers

The festival team is looking for informed speakers to give short introductory talks that will engage the public; approximately twenty minutes in length. They are particularly interested in debates or talks around ‘Sustainable growth or degrowth’, ‘Creating the political will for an effective response to the global crisis’, ‘Techno-fixes; what is possible and what is not’ and ‘Brexit, sustainability and resilience’.

Event Volunteers

Nottingham Green Festival is seeking Stewards, Welcome, Recycling and Refreshment Volunteers to help at the festival on the day. All these roles are the public face of the Nottingham Green Festival. These important positions provide volunteers with the opportunity to gain experience in customer service, promotions, and event operations.

Just some of the ways you could benefit from one of these volunteering opportunities:

  • Join a small and friendly team
  • Work in a beautiful place and historical surroundings
  • Meet new people
  • Learn new skills
  • Help us to shape our future
  • Take part in an exciting project
  • Use their skills to benefit a local community group
  • Be part of the team raising awareness about ecological issues, human rights and animal rights

If you are interested in one of these roles or would like to find out more get in touch with the festival organisers before 31st May 2019.

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-This blog post was written by Ellie Lewis the Sustainable Development Projects Officer in the Sustainable Development Team at NTU. Many thanks from the NTU Green Academy! 

Want to write a blog post that’s featured on this site? Email us your ideas today at GreenAcademy@ntu.ac.uk!

My Sustainability Journey

As a gardener I am super lucky to be able to be outside in the flow doing something I enjoy.

One of our Horticultural lectures was a ‘sustainability in practice challenge’ which motivated me to take the sustainability in practice certificate. I reflected on my lifestyle to see where I could make changes and improvements and used these points to create a poster. I started by thinking about the most important things in life – coffee and chocolate.

Making small changes to be sustainable starts with an awareness of the resources we use every day and how to reduce/reuse and recycle these resources.

Every day we make choices and each one makes a difference especially if that choice is a sustainable one –  There are 17 sustainable development goals to choose from – maybe try something fair trade today?

TheGlobalGoals_Logo_and_Icons

I agree with Victoria Hoff, April 2018 https://thethirty.whowhatwear.com/how-to-be-more-sustainable who said “In reality, every little bit counts. Objects as seemingly innocuous as bottle caps and straws can disrupt entire ecosystems, so why is it so hard to believe that on the flip side, we can’t enact positive change in the countless choices we make every day? Living a more sustainable lifestyle can be as simple as swapping your water bottle for a reusable variety or promising to only buy your eggs and produce from the farmers market. Adopting just one of these habits is an incredibly positive thing—and chances are that once it becomes a ritual, you’ll start to think about what else you can do.”

My next aim is to no longer get paper receipts from cash machines because  “250 million gallons of oil, 10 million trees, and 1 billion gallons of water are used each year just to create receipts—and that’s not even accounting for the fact that most of them end up in the trash. Anyway, do you really need that extra wad at the bottom of your bag?”(Hoff V)

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-This blog post was written by Kat Luki, a Horticulture student in the Animal, Rural and Environmental Science School,  Many thanks from the Green Academy!  

Want to write a blog post that’s featured on this site? Email us your ideas today at GreenAcademy@ntu.ac.uk!

Nottingham Business School ‘Sea Change Event’

On Feb 20th 237 enthusiastic first-year Nottingham Business School students, accompanied by second and final year student mentors participated in a grand plastics upcycling challenge, contributing directly to UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), Goal 14 (Life Below Water) and Goal 15 (Life on Land). The aptly named, ‘Sea Change’ event, tasked NBS students to devise creative and entrepreneurial solutions to prompt businesses to change their practices by recycling, reusing and upcycling plastics, or swapping to more sustainable materials with the aim of halting the adverse impact waste plastics are having on our land, wildlife, oceans, and marine life.

During the event students helped Plastics Patrol, a campaigning organisation working to combat plastics pollution, to consider ways in which plastics collected on litter picks could be put to good use in local communities, they helped NTU’s School of Art and Design to think of ways to upcycle VHS/SVHS, U-Matic tapes and other old format tapes and they helped NTU’s Marketing team to think of attractive, yet sustainable Open Day merchandise. A highlight of the event was a challenge set by NBS Oath Project students calling on fellow students to reflect on ways to reduce the amount of plastics used on fancy dress night’s out in Nottingham… think glitter, fairy wings, and other accessories.    

We need to work collectively to bring about a ‘sea change’ in our attitudes towards plastics consumption. This event provided students with the opportunity to apply their skills and creativity to encourage businesses to reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics and so preserve the environment for future generations.

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-This blog post was written by Amanda Thompson, director of Taught Undergraduate Programmes at NBS,  Many thanks from the Green Academy!  

Want to write a blog post that’s featured on this site? Email us your ideas today at GreenAcademy@ntu.ac.uk!

How to Break Up with Plastic

Since the release of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2, it seems that conversations around plastics and how harmful they are to the environment have increased exponentially, and for good reason. Plastic is so environmentally destructive and takes so long to break down (into even smaller micro-plastics which are just as harmful) that every single piece of plastic that has ever been made is still in existence in the Earth today. From every Barbie, to every Action-Man, every toothbrush to every menstrual pad – they still exist somewhere on this planet!

Blog palstic 1

I actually haven’t seen Blue Planet 2, but I have seen more and more people say they are making more conscious choices because of it. My journey to a more conscious life actually happened a year ago when I heard about Lauren Singer and Kate Arnell, two bloggers who aim to produce as little waste as possible. Whilst I am definitely not “zero waste” – I still recycle a lot of packaging and throw some items into the landfill – I do consider myself more conscious of my plastic consumption now.

I was recently asked by my friend “How do we keep a convenient lifestyle and reduce our plastic use?”, so here are some of the things you can do in order to reduce my plastic consumption that are so easy it’s laughable.

The Not-So-Fantastic Four

These items are most likely used at least in some form or another by every student and the replacements are easy to find, cheap (and in some cases free) and are much more sustainable than the disposable kind.

  1. Plastic Bags
  • Since the 5p charge was brought in 3 years ago, the number of plastic bags bought has dramatically decreased, but they are still being made. Use bags you already have to carry your shopping in – no doubt you have some from Fresher’s Week – and you will never have to buy a plastic bag again.
  • If you’re looking for a bag small enough to fit on your keychain made from recycled nylon, ChicoBag has you covered.
  1. Plastic Water Bottles
  • Most of the plastic waste we consume actually isn’t recycled – more than 8 million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans (PlasticOceans.org) and with the wide-range of reusable water bottles on offer, there really is no excuse not to use one.
  • If you have one already – even if it is plastic – use that until you have to buy a new one and save yourself the money.
  • If you do want a high-quality bottle, I’d recommend Chilly’s bottles – they are an investment at around £25 but they will last you for years.
  1. Plastic Straws
  • You knew this one was coming. Plastic straws suck, both literally and for the fact that they are contributing the suffering of animals (need I remind you of the poor turtle with the straw stuck in its’ nose?). I ordered a set of stainless-steel straws last year from Amazon, they are still going strong and are always a conversation starter when I’m out with friends and family.
  • Have a search on Amazon for straws, the options are literally endless – I recently found out they have collapsible ones now so there is a straw for everyone.
  1. Plastic Cutlery
  • Did you know plastic cutlery is often not recycled? That’s because if it is contaminated by food it can’t be turned back into “virgin” plastic and will just be thrown into landfills. Bamboo cutlery is much more sustainable, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. Lots of sets come with their own pouches to store them, just search on Amazon for bamboo cutlery sets and you’ll find something.
  • Alternatively, there is nothing wrong with bringing cutlery from your own kitchen if you want to save money!

These are the easiest things that anybody can do, student or not, but if you feel like going the extra mile then try some of these things to reduce your plastic waste.

  • If you’re a coffee drinker, the KeepCup is a brilliant investment and if you use it in coffee shops you could actually get a discount! Save money whilst saving the environment? How can you refuse!
  • Consider swapping your disposable razors for a safety razor with replaceable blades that can be recycled. The blades actually cost around 10p each when buying them in a multipack, so you save a fortune!
  • If you have a period, consider using a reusable menstrual product during your time of the month (this is definitely not for everyone but has saved me a ton of money).
  • Buy your food locally as much as you can – Nottingham’s market is fantastic for fresh fruits and vegetables – or package-free, for example PlasticFreePantry offers staples like cornflakes, teas and some toiletries with no plastic whatsoever!
  • Go to Lush for your shampoo, conditioner, soaps etc. as it often comes plastic free or you can pop it in their reusable metal tins.
  • Look into buying a bamboo toothbrush that is able to be composted.
  • Buy secondhand where possible – this isn’t limited to plastics but buying secondhand means you aren’t creating a demand for a new product, therefore reducing the amount of new plastics made. You can also use websites like Freecycle.org to find secondhand items completely free!
  • If you drink alcohol, stick to drinks on tap and in glasses as much as you can – cider is often served in recyclable glass bottles.
  • Don’t need the plastic item that is being offered to you? Politely refuse it!

I hope these tips were useful to you and that you feel you can do something new for the betterment of our environment – Mother Nature needs all the help she can get right now.

Items Mentioned:

ChicoBag – https://smile.amazon.co.uk/ChicoBag-Compactable-Reusable-Boysenberry-12-5-Inch/dp/B00CMNSXMU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1541016820&sr=8-1&keywords=chicobag)

Chilly’s Bottles – https://www.chillysbottles.com/

KeepCup – https://uk.keepcup.com/?country=United%20Kingdom

PlasticFreePantry – https://plasticfreepantry.co.uk/

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-This blog post was written by Abigail Flynn an undergraduate student at NTU,  Many thanks from the Green Academy!  

Want to write a blog post that’s featured on this site? Email us your ideas today at GreenAcademy@ntu.ac.uk!

Green Monkey – Bamboo Straws and going green for freshers!

Straws are super topical in the media today and most have decided to boycott them – even your local ‘spoons. But paper straws are still single use and come with their own issues; some people don’t recycle them and they go soft quickly.

Alternatives include metal straws or bamboo straws. Whilst stainless steel straws are great and super easy to clean (I got mine from Dash Vegan in Lenton) they just aren’t for everyone. A great alternative to these is currently provided by Green Monkey, a Warwickshire based independent shop who offer a whole pack of bamboo straws for £9.99.

bamboo

Bamboo is a great plastic alternative, it has a fast renewal rate (around 3ft each day), it is durable, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial which means any bamboo replacement is, in my eyes, pretty cool.

I brought a set in anticipation of freshers drinking week. Freshers create so much waste – plastic pop bottles, glasses and straws, all awful to clean up after a heavy night. The bamboo straws are enough for you and your housemates to share so they won’t cost much and you can save the planet a little and reduce the cleaning up whilst you’re at it.

When mine arrived they were in plastic-free packaging and came with a pipe cleaner – handy for more than just the straws. You get 12 in a pack which is more generous than most competitors but also means you can split a pack and pay less or chuck a few in different going out bags so you always have one to hand (I had enough for my housemates and myself).

What’s great about these is that if they do break, which is unlikely they’re pretty robust, they’re 100% biodegradable so you can chuck them in your compost and feel no guilt.

I took them for a spin for a week in my life and I can honestly say – I experienced no issues. I went for a canal-side lunch and asked to use my own straw instead. I gave my spare straws to my friends who were all delighted to notice that there was no taste difference or uncomfortable sensation in the mouth. I used them for a BBQ – again a massive hit. I then packed 4 into the pouch they come with and took them for a girls weekend in Manchester (my hometown). Going out I was able to use them in all the bars and they actually made the cocktails look really cute. Overall, I and my friends were really impressed. After a few days, it became second nature to keep them on me at all times.

At the end of the day it’s our future that we need to secure. By doing the small changes we can all make a massive difference. Make your freshers a green freshers and do a little now so we don’t have to take drastic measures later.

SDG12

-This blog post was written by Adelle Hood, a NTU student in the Animal Rural and Environmental Science School. Many thanks from the Green Academy!