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.


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.


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

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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.


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.


-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! 

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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?


I agree with Victoria Hoff, April 2018 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)


-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!  

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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.


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

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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 ( 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 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 –

Chilly’s Bottles –

KeepCup –

PlasticFreePantry –


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

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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 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.


-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! 

The Global Enterprise Experience and SDG 8

I was always very aware whilst at Nottingham Trent University that in order to be as employable as I could possibly be when I reached Graduation, I had to take every opportunity that Nottingham Business School offers. The Global Enterprise Experience is an online competition ( which allows you to practically develop a wide range of skills whilst working with a group of 6-8 total strangers from across the globe! I found this opportunity via the University’s Employability Team.


The competition brief is normally centred around one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals but is always left broad enough to allow creative juices to really flow. The competition from start to end is open for 3 weeks, which is no time at all to create a business concept! This year’s focus was on Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Before the competition started, I had to fill in information about myself and my current skills.  I was then put into a team with individuals from across the globe; Guyana, The Dominican Republic, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Nigeria. We communicated via technology such as Whatsapp and a Facebook group but getting the ball rolling and finally deciding on a concept, did take longer than expected because of everyone’s different time zones.

From the beginning, every team member is encouraged by the organisers to be proactive and to not just rely on the team leader but to foster team creativity yourself – every team member’s ability to do this is measured using a 360 degree feedback method which is completed by your fellow team members at the end of the project.

We eventually managed to agree on creating a proposal focusing on environmental issues and discussed possible solutions to problems we all had experience of in our own environments. I learnt about issues such as the Sargassum (a type of seaweed) build up on the coastline of some Caribbean islands, which is having a detrimental effect on many industries and is proving difficult to remove, as it requires heavy machinery, which damages the shores. We based our final idea on creating a viable solution to solve this issue whilst simultaneously bringing employment and prosperity to the Dominican Republic and hopefully, other Caribbean islands in the future.


Our final concept involved creating employment opportunities for women in the Dominican Republic (as the unemployment rate amongst women is high currently) by giving them the opportunity to collect the Sargassum from the beaches and coastlines which is then turned into a plastic-like material and made into a eco-friendly reusable coffee cup, to be sold to socially conscious millennials. We named our business ‘The Happy Cup Co’ and had a turtle as our company mascot which was embedded in our logo (our mission was to act in ways that always kept our ‘happy’ turtle in good spirits). The business proposal we had to submit for the competition had to be detailed and an outline of what’s expected by the judges (business industry experts, members of government etc) is provided. The proposal had to be concise and as detailed as possible, but at only 6 pages long this was quite the challenge in itself!

Overall, I think this is one of the best opportunities I have found whilst being a student at NBS. The chance to work with global teammates doesn’t arise often and I have improved current skills such as communicating with teammates in non face-to-face situations, problem-solving and creating concepts in a short space of time. I also developed my leadership skills as some members of the team did not submit their work so the team leader and myself had to step up and complete this on behalf of the team. This is stated as one of the reasons why I received high ratings in my 360-degree feedback and also led to me winning a highly commended global peer leader award which is a great thing for my CV and something that I am proud of too. The challenge is great preparation for the global workplace, I am proud of myself for helping my other team members and can’t wait to carry on my journey to become a global leader- this experience has only made me more determined to gain a position that allows me to make a positive difference in the lives of others!

If you do decide to take on this challenge next year, here are some small nuggets of advice to help you on your way to winning in 2019 (the winning team receives a cash prize each!):

  • Creating a concept that is valuable and life-changing for the proposed societal group isn’t as difficult as you might think- it just needs some thoughtful ideas to spark a real development in shaping the overall concept
  • Thoughtfulness and creative thinking are important factors to consider when developing a concept- the best ideas are from the heart!
  • There is often one team member that doesn’t contribute anything- always remain polite to them and offer your assistance, you don’t know what difficulties they may be facing!
  • Sometimes I accidentally used English slang without thinking and nobody understood me- it is important to speak clearly to other team members and to be mindful that some people will be speaking English as a second language!

If you are interested in taking part next year it takes place in the Springtime. For NTU students please contact for more information.


-This blog post was written by Eloise Thomas a recent NTU graduate of the Nottingham Business School. Many thanks from the Green Academy! 

PRME UK and Ireland chapter(UKI) and Oxford Brookes University Writing Competition

In February this year, I entered a writing competition conducted by the PRME UK and Ireland chapter(UKI) and Oxford Brookes University. This is the second year the competition is being conducted with the aim of promoting understanding of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The concept is that though every year business and management students produce insightful work about sustainability issues, business ethics dilemma and responsible business and management practise as part of their course, it is rarely read by more than a few. Hence, the writing competition is established as an opportunity for students to be assessed by experts and provide wider readership for their work.  I am happy that my submission has been selected as one of the Top 10 finalists amongst entries submitted by Post Graduate students from all across the UK and Ireland. My work will also be published shortly on the PRME website.


I submitted the essay that I had written for the Responsible and sustainable leadership module, led by Prof. Mollie Painter-Morland. My essay analysed the sustainability report of a leading oil and natural gas company, assessing its stakeholder practices, sustainability reporting practices using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards and the company’s contribution to SDG-13, that deals with urgent action to combat climate change. Though the company fared well on some of these measures, it was found to be under a lot of pressure from its shareholders and environmental, social and government (ESG) organisations to set sustainability targets and faced the risk of the loss of institutional investors if it failed to do so. Hence, I suggested a socially responsible investment to the company in green energy storage research with a cross-collaboration model starting with a company such as Alphabet with a Cambridge model of leadership. I drew from examples of states such as California that suffered from excess green energy production and built a case for green energy storage research as such an investment could create long-term value for the company and the society.

As I was researching for the essay, the importance of green energy storage became very evident to me. With the cash reserves enjoyed by oil and gas companies, such investments seem viable and thus it became the essence of my essay. I thoroughly enjoyed researching and writing on this topic and truly believe that such investments are necessary if green energy can be used on a large scale in the future. I hope this is just the start on the path of sustainability for me and hope to research more such issues in the future.



-This blog post was written by Deepa Anantha Narayana an NTU Student in the Nottingham Business School. Many thanks from the Green Academy! 

Low-carbon diet: The food fad that’s good for the environment

If you aren’t already worried about climate change, you probably should be. Melting ice-caps, rising sea-levels and extreme weather – indicators that all is not right with the world, and us humans definitely have a hand in it!

Sustainability, low-waste living and plant-based lifestyles are all hot topics for anyone interested in reducing their carbon footprint and diet is one of the best places to start.


A low-carbon diet is all about adapting your lifestyle to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. At the heart of this is thinking about your food: how it is prepared, packaged, processed and transported to reduce your impact on the environment. A low-carbon diet aims to reduce the amount of plastics used and cuts down on meat and dairy consumption because of the large quantities of methane and carbon dioxide this industry puts into the atmosphere.

When constructing a low-carbon recipe look for foods first and foremost that are grown in the UK, as they will have travelled less, and recipes free from meat and dairy. One of my favourite dishes is tagine – a north African dish that can be adapted to fit locally sourced foods.


Tagine Serves: 2-4


Butternut Squash x1

Red Onion x1-2

Red pepper x1

Garlic x a few bulbs

Can of Chickpeas x1

Can of chopped tomatoes/passata x1

Rapeseed oil x2 tablespoons

Seasoning: harissa paste, ras-el-hanout or a spice mix of smoked paprika, coriander, cumin, chilli, ground black pepper, salt



200g plain flour/bread flour + extra for dusting

100ml warm water

Pinch of salt

½ tablespoon of oil


Roughly chop the red onion, pepper and garlic and fry in the rapeseed oil. Cook until soft.

Peel, deseed and chop and butternut squash and add to the pan. Coat in the harissa paste/spice-mix.

Add the can of chopped tomatoes/passata and an equal amount of water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down. Cook until the butternut squash is soft and the sauce has reduced. Add more water if necessary.

Whilst the tagine is cooking, make the flatbreads. Mix the flour, water, salt and oil in a bowl. Add more flour/water if the consistency is too dry/wet. Knead on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes until smooth and stretchy. Portion the dough into 4/6 balls and roll them out into thin discs. Heat a pan and dry fry your flatbreads. If you don’t have a non-stick pan, you can use a bit of oil to make sure they don’t stick.

Whilst this dish may sound exotic, the vast majority of the ingredients can be sourced from the UK. Go plastic-free where possible and recycle what packaging you can. Everyone is capable of making a difference, no matter how small, and making small changed to your diet can do wonders for the planet.


-This blog post was written by Claudia Minett an NTU Staff member in the academic registry. Many thanks from the Green Academy! 


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Plastic Planet launches at NTU

In April, Nottingham Trent University’s Sustainable Development Team launched the Plastic Planet campaign with engagement stalls at City, Clifton and Brackenhurst campuses. The aim of the campaign is to work with other departments, as well as with students and staff, to encourage positive behaviour changes that reduce the amount of unnecessary plastic used around NTU.

During the launch week, we asked students and staff to make a ‘Plastic Pledge’ – a small change they could make such as switching to a bamboo toothbrush or refusing plastic straws. Everyone that got involved entered our raffle to win plastic-reducing prizes such as lunch boxes and reusable water bottles.

PP 1

We also asked for feedback on what NTU could do better. The University uses many different plastic items for all types of purposes so it is useful to hear from people that have noticed potential improvements. Many people we spoke to highlighted their concerns over the disposables used in the Dine outlets. The catering department is currently liaising with the Sustainable Development Team while exploring recyclable and biodegradable options and they are very keen to make sustainable changes wherever appropriate. Additionally, the water point locations are now on the Sustainability webpages and we are planning to install new water points to reduce the demand for bottled drinks.


Going forward, the Sustainable Development Team will be exploring providing reusable water bottles and coffee cups at the start of the academic year. We also hope to host waste reducing events to engage students, staff and the public, such as zero waste shops/stalls, and we will continue to work with other departments to encourage positive changes. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please email We hope to make a big difference to the amount of single-use plastic seen around NTU so watch this space!


-This blog post was written by Kate Divey-Matthews the Environmental Engagement Assistant in the Sustainable Development Team at NTU. Many thanks from the Green Academy! 

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