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Responsible Consumption

Sustainability Week: Responsible Consumption

This year’s Sustainability Week focused on the theme of UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption.

Activities throughout the Week (and beyond!) encouraged staff and students to consider the social and environmental impacts of the items they buy. It explored the complexities and challenges associated with consuming responsibly, such as ‘Can fashion be sustainable?’ and ‘Is all plastic bad?’.

Supported by our Design School, the campaign launched with an open lecture exploring what ‘Responsible Consumption’ might look like, followed by a range of events including film showings and discussions, a guest lecture from ethical clothing company ‘Lucy & Yak’, and a Responsible Consumption Instagram competition. On-campus second hand-clothes sales supported circular economy principles and raised funds for the British Heart Foundation.Tiered lecture theatre filled with students raising their hands.

Staff volunteers took on Responsible Consumption challenges and shared their experiences and tips via a series of blogs. These included reducing food waste, avoiding fast fashion, eliminating single-use plastic and switching to a low-meat diet. Colleagues were able to identify with their peers and try out top tips.

“Just wanted to say that I’ve just read your blog and I really really liked it... I’ve been meaning to buy beeswax wraps for ages but have never got round to it, so I’ve just ordered some while I’m sat at my PC because of you mentioning them!” (Staff member)

Looking to support Responsible Consumption on campus? Here’s 5 great ways that you can make a positive difference:

  1. Get a reusable water bottle: Save on single-use plastic bottle waste by carrying your reusable bottle with you. There are dozens of places on campus for you to top-up for free. Find these on the Refill app.
  2. Sign up to Too Good To Go app: We were the first University in the UK to sign up to this app which let’s you find cafes on campus (and beyond) who have leftover items. Pick them up for a minimal price to help save these items from going to waste.
  3. Support charity with your unwanted outfits: Got unwanted clothing, books, or even crockery...? Donate them to the British Heart Foundation via one of the red donation banks around campus. You can find these in each of our student halls as well as in the Students’ Union. These items are resold by the charity, saving them from the bin and generating life-saving funds.
  4. Buy second-hand: In need to a new outfit or maybe even a bike? Look out for the vintage clothing sales and second-hand bike sales taking place on campus throughout the year. Need something before the next sale? There are loads of great apps to help you give something unwanted a second life.
  5. Try meat-free: Reducing the amount of meat you eat can make an enormous difference to your carbon (and water) footprint. Even just a change once a week can be a positive start. Check out the meat-free Plantilicious range available in our cafes on campus – delicious (and good for the planet!).

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