17 May 2019
Do your part to tackle single-use disposables on campus
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to waste at the University is the vast array of single-use disposables consumed each year.
In the last few years, the University’s Sustainability team have been tackling this issue with their Let’s Ditch the Disposable campaign.
Previously, over one million disposable cups were used on campus each year, and since then, a number of initiatives have come into place to reduce this number. These include:
- The introduction of the Loughborough Cup and more recently the rCup
- Academic Schools such as the Design School providing school-branded mugs in a bid to encourage staff and students to re-use
- Dining Halls and Refresh (the University’s catering service) offering reusable cups and mugs
Schemes such as these have resulted in an estimated reduction of around 400,000 disposable cups being used each year, which is an incredible achievement.
To tackle the other disposable waste on campus – such as fast food polystyrene boxes – the University has replaced these with reusable lunch boxes in catered halls which students can purchase at a subsidised rate.
There are still improvements to be made, however.
For example, have you ever bought takeaway food on campus which comes in a cardboard box? These boxes cannot be recycled, as they have a plastic coating and are often contaminated with food.
Below are some tips on how you can do your bit to continue helping the University reduce its waste:
- Use a reusable cup or water bottle
- Rather than take food away, sit and enjoy your meal using proper cutlery and crockery in the retail outlets where possible
- Separate recycling and waste material correctly using the bins around campus
The University's Environmental Manager, Nik Hunt, said: “Significant progress has been made in the student catering areas, but in areas where customers still have a choice there is more work to be done, and we are looking at ways to further incentivise reusables."
Head of Catering for Campus Services, Gagan Kapoor, added: “Catering services as a department are always exploring ways to introduce sustainable initiatives and embed them into our daily work practices.
“We engage collaboratively with the Sustainability team to explore practical solutions and believe it's the right thing to do for our future.
“The reusable meal box initiative is a good example of where we delivered a workable solution based on the feedback and requests from the student community, fully removing polystyrene non-recyclable boxes from catered halls. Reducing single-use products through choice and education is our focus as we develop food offers on campus.”