What a waste
By Lucy Bradley
Recycling. You’ve probably heard the word thrown around hundreds of times. You’ve probably participated in it yourself; 9/10 of UK households do ‘regularly’.
Leaving lockdown (finally), more people have described themselves as willing to change their lifestyles to participate in environmental activism: 73%, up from 68% in 2019.
As many as 93% of UK households believe ‘everyone has a responsibility to help towards cleaning up the environment’ (Smith, 2020).
But what does it actually mean to recycle? And why is it such a big deal? Google defines recycling as ‘the action or process of converting waste into reusable material’ to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills (which then release harmful greenhouses gasses and contribute to global warming) or in the ocean (killing ocean life at a remarkable rate – every year around the world, plastic pollution kills over 100,000 marine mammals) (WWF, 2018).
So, to take responsibility and offer a helping hand in this very current issue, what can you do as a student?
Out of everything thrown away in student accommodation, most is reusable and/or recyclable and doesn’t deserve to rot in landfills: unopened food that’s still packaged/canned can be donated to your local food bank or homeless shelters; furniture can be sold on eBay, donated, or passed on to a friend; books can be donated to libraries; old clothes and shoes can be donated to The Salvation Army for example, where they will either be recycled or redistributed (Planet Aid, 2015).
There are so many things you can be doing to play your part. Don’t forget your uni housing will more than likely have a recycling bin for your convenience.
When it comes to food waste, it has been estimated that we waste more than 30% of all global food produce.
UK households throw away around 7 million tonnes of food every year. Out of this already staggering statistic, 250,000 tonnes are perfectly edible and would, if donated and recycled properly, make up to 650 million meals for the millions of people in the UK struggling to afford simple food items.
(Recycling Bins, 2020). So, before scraping your leftovers straight into the bin and effectively straight into a landfill, or before chucking away the load of fruit you spontaneously bought that one time after convincing yourself you’d start eating healthily, think.
Can it be composted? (At least 50% of food can!).
Can I drop it off at my local food bank?
Can I help feed those who need it most?
Can I actually bake with it or blend it?
After all, around the world, 1.4 million untouched bananas are wasted on the daily (Recycling Bins, 2020).
When it comes to doing our bit, we have analysed and adapted our accommodations to battle this very topical issue.
In uni accommodation, we encourage and provide our students with every opportunity to practice environmental activism.
From turning off your tap when brushing your teeth, to washing full instead of half loads, to splitting waste from recycling in the separate bins we provide, your individual impact will work collectively with us in our fight against waste, and in alliance with environmental activism.
With a particular emphasis on travel and carbon emissions, our student accommodation is centrally located. With bike routes directly to the door of the Uni, and accessible transport routes to other cities, there are environmentally friendly ways to travel.
Reduce carbon emissions by using public transport.
Bike instead of driving.
Walk and take steps towards environmental activism instead of stamping your carbon footprint.