the impact of our student disposable culture – Palatinate
If the average UK household produces more than a ton of trash a year, imagine the impact of the annual student move. Not only is the culture of student drinking harming the environment through the systematic use of plastic cups, straws and cans, but more than 2 million students across the country are moving to June, which wreaks havoc on landfills.
We should all get involved in making Durham a greener university
Thinking of student life here in Durham, there are so many aspects that continually add to our throwaway culture. Costumes are bought for one-time use on social media, coffee cups are routinely found in the wrong library bins, students who live on meal offers generate huge amounts of packaging and often the bins of Recycling glass are disappearing into the streets of students – making the whole process even more difficult.
How can Durham students reduce their waste, throughout each term and at the end of the year? There are so many events and activities taking place at Durham University due to the range of clubs, societies, fancy dress parties and tie balls available, and the result is a large amount of dresses from prom, shirts and suits often to be worn once and then thrown into the back of a cupboard, not to be seen again until the end of the third term. Durham Charity Stores are a great place to donate well-groomed clothing, allowing others to get an extra outfit of formal or novelty clothing, while helping both charities and the environment.
Green Move Out allows students to donate reusable household items to a charitable collection
Durham University also has a Green Move Out program, which is a helpful initiative run with the local charity, County Durham Furniture Help Scheme (CDFHS), allowing students to donate all cutlery, plates, electrical appliances and the like. reusable items to a collection at the end of the academic year. Clear purple bags are handed out at Livers Out during this week and the next, where students can place all of their reusable items that they would otherwise throw away on a move. The bags are then collected by volunteers, and the items are sold at low prices in October for the next academic year, supporting those in need in the North East and contributing massively to reduce student waste. Over 2,650 bags of reusable items were collected last year, which, while impressive, is small compared to the population of 17,000 students living in Durham. Hopefully the device continues to develop and has an increasingly positive impact.
Over 2,650 bags of reusable items were collected last year
The University of Birmingham was highly regarded due to a similar initiative, carried out with the collaboration of the students. This should be used as inspiration for our own Green Move Out program here in Durham, as greater student participation would dramatically increase awareness and help reduce our throwaway culture. Having a student society or campaign ambassadors would be incredibly beneficial for the student body and the environment, simply by word of mouth or mobilizing through social media. While colleges are involved in Green Move Out, being rewarded or ranked based on the number of bags of housewares they donate to CDFHS, a stronger presence among students would bring Livers Out together for the same cause.
However, the students are not entirely to blame. While Morgan Stanley, Bill Free Homes, and private landlords, among others, allow students to leave household items on the property for future tenants, JW Wood charges students for any items left, whether it is a plate, cutting board or traffic cone. . Although JW Wood has been emailing students with the Green Move Out campaign, perhaps more should be done to prevent this annual moving routine from contributing so dangerously to landfill.
Agencies like Bill Free Homes also haven’t provided feasible recycling options for students living in Market Square, as their waste is collected by the rental agency. A student under these circumstances, Sam Assim, spoke to Bill Free Homes about it, and was told his only option was to take the recycling to a tip, all of which are at least a short drive away and therefore not always a possibility for students. .
More needs to be done to prevent this annual moving routine from contributing so dangerously to landfill.
Moving is stressful, and worrying about recycling and trash can seem like the least of our problems. However, reducing the throwaway culture in college is actually much easier than it looks if we are aware of the many possibilities available to us. Almost two-thirds of household garbage can be recycled, and with the increase in green initiatives, we should all get involved in making Durham a greener university.
Illustrations: Lara santos