Sustainability in the UK

Written by Brittany - 31/08/2020

The human population is collectively working towards finding innovative solutions to maintain a sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle. Throughout the UK, many universities have taken it upon themselves to join this collective movement and impact the Earth in beneficial ways. By working with companies that utilize Fairtrade practices, contributing to research by offering a wide range of study programmes, and through unique campus initiatives, the UK is moving towards better sustainability for a happy Earth. Here are some ways that universities in the UK are contributing to a happier and more sustainable lifestyle.

Committing to the use of Fairtrade products

Many universities have committed to the use of Fairtrade products throughout their campuses. Products identified with the Fairtrade image on packaging guarantee that the product meets certain standards. The retail price of all Fairtrade products will cover the cost of production as well as an appropriate living wage for workers!

Sustainable agriculture initiatives

Saving the bees:

A bee buzzing around pink flowers with yellow pollen

Bees have two significant roles in their lives and are an important aspect of the world’s economy. The honey that these creatures make contribute to worldwide trading, while pollination allows for healthy flowers contributing to agriculture. It’s no wonder that many nations across the world have shown such importance to the preservation of the bee. The estimated net worth of a bee’s contributions to economic and agriculture services is tens of millions of dollars a year!

One university that is contributing to the global effort to preserve the bees is City University of London. City is contributing to the efforts to save bee populations by keeping beehives, with teams dedicated to take care of the honey and bee populations. This hive is located on the roof of the university!

More information can be found here.

Sustainable food initiatives:

Some UK university campuses have committed to on-campus initiatives for sustainability through food. By incorporating initiatives such as student run vegetable gardens, universities can grow vegetables that can be used throughout campus for both food and further studies!

Contributing to the growing research:

Universities continue to research areas of sustainability and environmental studies as well as food safety and nutrition by offering a growing number of programs. These areas are both crucial when contributing to the evolving world and will allow students the ability to combat important issues concerning sustainability and eco-friendly items.

Reducing Waste and Single-use plastics

A lone plastic water bottle on the beach

Much like various big-name coffee shops we’re familiar with in Canada, some universities are offering discounts at their campus coffee shops for bringing and utilizing reusable cups. This cuts down on campus waste and saves students money; it’s a win-win! Programs and stipulations will vary from university to university so it’s best to check with your university to see what sort of programs are available!

Needing to stay hydrated? Instead of selling plastic water bottles, some UK universities have also started to implement water filling stations to promote sustainability and waste-reduction. Some universities will also include reusable water bottles as part of their student ‘welcome’ package so it’s easy to contribute to a greener campus.  

These steps are incredibly important in creating a more environmentally friendly future. The University of Leeds for example has taken a pledge to become free of single-use plastics by 2023.

Reducing carbon emissions

Bike Repairs:

Blue bike with a basket leaning against a fence with sunshine and leaves surrounding

No car? No problem! Getting around campus can be quick and environmentally friendly. Walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation to and around campus.

Universities have started initiatives like secure bike storage and repair shops to keep everything safe and in the best condition. This gets you to where you need to go safely (and faster than walking).

Education of Staff and Students:

An important aspect of working towards lower carbon emission goals is education and research into other sources of renewable sources. Many UK universities have worked towards furthering research and development of these ideas to encourage students to contribute in significant ways. Some universities offer scholarships and grants towards students with ideas that meet their goals.

Universities also strongly encourage student awareness on important environmental matters. For example, students can calculate their personal environmental footprint on the WWF website. The results will show areas of their life that can be altered to become more environmentally conscious!

Promoting official/certified websites and offering grants/scholarships to students who have the ideas needed for growing an environmentally conscious campus are great ways to encourage student participation and get students thinking about their own carbon footprint.

Are you interested in contributing to a more sustainable or eco-friendly world? Contact us and we’ll get you in touch with your own personal student advisor to help!

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