With all the fuss about banning plastic bags, Marcie Cheers has some handy tips on how to go plastic-free and be sustainable while you’re at uni.
2018. It is the year that will be renowned for the remarkable attempt at abolishing single-use plastic. From the exemplary words of Waleed Aly at the beginning of the year that challenged state premiers to ban plastic bags, it appears the rest of Australia has quickly gotten on board with attempting to ban single-use plastics. With supermarket giants such as Woolworths and Coles being the latest big institutions to ban the single-use plastic bag, many other institutions are doing their own part to make a difference.
But it is not only institutions that should be taking the steps to do good for the environment, it all starts with individuals. Here are five tips every student can implement, to help abolish plastic for good and become more environmentally friendly around campus.
- Invest in some stainless-steel straws
With countless restaurants and cafes banning plastic straws, why not pick up a pack of stainless-steel, reusable straws that you can keep on you and reuse. You can pick up a pack of 4 straws (includes a cleaning brush) for the extremely cheap price of only $3 from Kmart. By making the swap from plastic to reusable straws, not only will you be the coolest person in your local coffee shop, but you will also be limiting the amount of plastic flooding our oceans. With 30% of plastic waste ending up in our oceans, and being consumed by marine animals – it is time to say NO to plastic straws.
- Reusable coffee cups
It is no secret, students like to consume a lot of coffee to get through those long hours of study each day. And if you are like me, a day at uni consists of about 2-3 visits to Gloria Jeans for iced coffee. If everyone bought at least one coffee a day, that is a huge amount of plastic being wasted by one time use. Although many of the amazing coffee shops are an absolute saviour on campus, most of their disposable takeaway cups are made from plastic and polystyrene – which are not good for the environment. Instead why not consider buying a cheap reusable coffee cup, they come in various sizes and can be bought extremely cheaply. Kmart offers a very cheap medium sized, travel cup for only $1.50, alternatively a range of sizes and styles can be bought from Keepcup. That way, you won’t have to feel guilty about buying your third latte of the day and using three different plastic cups. A big bonus that comes with using reusable cups is, in attempt to limit the number of polystyrene cups sold, many cafes have deals in which if you bring in a reusable cup, you will get a discount on your coffee. Who doesn’t love a cheap coffee?
- Make the switch to reusable bags
You are probably tired of hearing “Don’t forget your reusable bags when you are going shopping”, now that Woolworths and Coles have abolished single use plastic bags. However, getting rid of plastic bags is one of the most important steps in abolishing plastic all together. According to the Ellen MacArthur report, if we keep up our use of plastic, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish…
Instead of using the plastic bags provided for fruit and veggies, maybe consider using the paper bags for mushrooms to hold your produce, or not use a bag at all if it is one or two items. Every bit of plastic used adds up.
- Reusable drink bottles
Not only is buying plastic drink bottles bad for the environment, but it is also bad for your health. Studies show that if you keep filling up plastic bottles, you are also drinking the plastic in it. The chemical more commonly known as BPA, can very easily leak into the water bottle, and is extremely harmful for your body if you consume it. So, try ditch paying $3 everyday for a bottle of water, and buy a cheap BPA free, reusable water bottle, that you can take around everywhere and fill up. Cheap and cute drink bottles can be found everywhere, from Kmart to Cotton On and ShopNaturally.
- Put your trash in the right bin
It seems like a stupidly obvious tip, but hey there are still so many people they don’t recycle just because they are too lazy to do it. At UON we are fortunate enough to have plenty of bins around the campus that are split into general waste and recyclables. Taking two seconds to put recyclables in the right side of the bin, can make a difference. There are also ‘soft plastic’ bins placed around the campus to assist with the recycling of plastic materials.
Although these tips might sound simple, it takes one person to make a change in the world, and when one starts, the rest will follow. Nobody wants our future to be inundated with oceans filled with rubbish, and to see extinction of marine life. Next time you’re walking around campus, maybe consider some of these tips to help the environment.
Want even more advice on how to be sustainable while you’re studying? Yak TV has a video with more tips right here!
- Director: Jessica Muspratt
- Producer: Alex Preston
- Camera: Tiana Edwards
- Audio: Daniel Bisegna
- Presenters: Alex Mangano & Layla Beech