The return of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet has made us all painfully aware of the impact our disposable lifestyle is having on our oceans and the animals living there. 2018 has also left us with the iconic image of a sea turtle with a straw stuck up its nose. So what does this have to do with us, and what are we doing about it?

The University recognises that as an institution we have a responsibility to act and operate in such a way as to minimise our environmental impact. This is why we’re always looking for things we can do to make sure that we as an institution do not contribute to the rising tide of ocean plastic.

It’s a slow process, and we can’t achieve everything all at once, but we’re very happy to share a success with you today. We’ve worked with both the SU and the caterers to remove plastic straws from all catering outlets, cafés, shops, and bars across the university estate. Now we’ll no longer be distributing harmful plastics that could potentially reach the natural environment where it takes hundreds of years to break down and causes serious health problems for wildlife in the meantime.

Even better, this change won’t affect your daily life at all. You’ll slurp your smoothie through a paper straw and eat your lunch on the go with compostable cutlery – this looks and feels like plastic but is made from materials that biodegrade harmlessly in three to six months.

While we’re working away trying to make it easy for you to make the right choices at uni, there’s plenty you can do to reduce your impact. Carry around your own reusable coffee cup, water bottle, or cutlery (just make sure you wash them!) as the best way to tackle the issue of waste is to reduce the amount you produce in the first place.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Cormac Cleary

Cormac Cleary

Sustainable Food Assistant at University of Westminster and Aramark
Cormac Cleary

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