Arianna Bosio and Antony Churchill write about what they’re doing to help with the issue of plastics
We are addicted to plastics. Not only do we consume 100 million tonnes today in the world (Plastic Free, 2013), but as a household we throw away on average around 40kg of plastics a year. Our campaign does not want to persuade you to recycle more, no, we have a bigger dream in mind. We are working on a project that aims to change our habits on campus for good. Ultimately, my team and I want to introduce a referendum that will ban single-use plastic bottles on campus for good! But we need your help.
Who are we?
We are ‘Tap That’ and we were born from the dream of reducing plastic waste. We are working together with the University of Essex: Sustainability Department, towards the aim of reducing plastic on campus. Our module: Community Engagement and Community Action, required us to implement a systematic change to the University, and for this we thought it would be progressive to re-think the way we use and throw away plastics.
We are all aware of the damages that plastics do to the environment – remember BBC’s Blue Planet? Plastic production will rise to 583.3 billion units in 2021, and does not seem to be declining at any significant rate, according to a report published in 2017 by The Guardian: There are more than 50 types of plastics we use, and although most can be recycled, this depends on the technology in the area. For example, Colchester does not have the adequate facilities to recycle plastic film and polystyrene.. Even if the UK develops the technology to recycle all plastics, do we really believe that this will put a halt to the unquantifiable amount of plastics seen, for instance, in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? (NatGeo, 2014) How long will it take for us to clean up this mess?
“There are more than 50 types of plastics we use”
We are all responsible for our consumeristic habits, although we don’t really notice the impact of this day-to-day. For that reason, we would like you to take a stand towards plastic consumption. We don’t expect everyone to aim for the stars and eliminate plastic waste for good, rather, we believe in small-scale change from students. That’s why we encourage you, to take your stance towards reducing plastic consumption by:
- Buying your own re-usable water bottle – alternatively we will be handing them out to students during one of our event days.
- Voting in favour for the ban of plastic single-use bottles on campus. (date TBC)
In fact, this project might seem too ambitious to be true. Do you believe it’s impossible for a University to ban plastic bottles? Think again! Some higher education institutions have already taken a step forward, and our University should be next. For example, The University of Leeds have banned theirs in 2009, and the University of Sheffield in 2011.
Regarding our Colchester campus, we can notice that there are a handful of refrigerated water-fountains on campus providing cold, clean, filtered water. Unfortunately, these are over-looked as it’s more convenient to buy a bottle from the SU store. Picking a free bottle means you no longer have to waste money on single-use bottles. Why would anyone want to spend money in the face of a free alternative?
If you would like to know more about our project, you can head to our Facebook page: University of Essex: Sustainability, or you can find us on CLICK (Hubub).