The plastics challenge — help break the dependency on single-use plastics

May 9th, 2018

We’re proud to be one of the UK’s most sustainable universities, but we can always do more.

Our research delivers greener sources of energy, food supply and construction, and our campuses use solar energy and have carbon neutral buildings. But we currently use a huge amount of plastic across our campuses. We know we can reduce this this significantly — and we need your help.

Not all plastics are ‘bad’. Plastics have been a fundamental part of advances in medicine, construction, technology, transport and much more. We’re initially focusing on the way we use single-use plastics — coffee cups, bottled drinks and other everyday items that we use once and then throw away.

We bin more than 1 million disposable coffee cups and 1.1 million plastic drinks bottles a year across our UK campuses. By raising awareness and providing easy-access alternatives, we think we can make a big difference.

We’re developing challenging institutional tasks and targets for reduction, but we can only achieve those with your support. Complete the survey to help us decide what we should focus on — and how you would help us to accomplish our goals. It takes less than six minutes, but will provide us with the feedback we need to define what we do next.

The first 30 people to complete the survey and leave their contact details will receive a University of Nottingham KeepCup to get them started. A further 20 respondents will be chosen at random to receive a KeepCup once the survey has closed on Friday 25 May 2018.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West said:

“Our research has a well-deserved reputation for supporting a more sustainable planet in developing greener sources of energy, food supply and construction. It is only right that our investments and campus activity reflect this.

“We have recently committed to fossil fuel divestment within 12 months. Taking the next step in reducing single-use plastics on campus is an important part of our global outlook, ethical values and commitment to environmental sustainability. I invite our University community of staff and students to help us continue our drive to become ever more sustainable.”

Take the survey at

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May 9th, 2018 at 4:44 pm

Joseph Alton

Try and implement more water fountains/machines (with PAPER cups) to encourage their use over people buying bottled water from the cafes.

May 10th, 2018 at 10:03 am

Nada H T

Giving a stamp for every time use a reusable cup at a café at Uni, and after every 6 stamps or so, they get a free drink!

May 10th, 2018 at 11:27 am

Michal Cenzartowicz

I carry my water bottle everywhere, same with the coffee cup.
No one ever asked me if I want to use it in the cafeteria.

Also, we need more water fountains! There is just one in ESLC and it’s always empty! Install of the filtering stations instead.
Tower building needs one as well.
Because of lack of thereof, I find myself buying water in bottles…

May 31st, 2018 at 11:25 pm

Jonathon Hawkins

I agree that there needs to be more water fountains on campus – at his current moment in time there are so few that it is almost forcing people to buy bottled water just to get a drink – rather than reusing and refilling an old bottle! – it’s a waster of plastic, and water!

June 11th, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Jay Harikumaran

I agree with the comments above regarding water fountains. It is such a simple addition that can make a big difference. Each event that uon holds results in so much waste of plastic bottles.

Regards jay

June 28th, 2018 at 9:18 am

Tyler H C

Just a thought about the option of using wooden recyclable cutlery rather than the plastic ones offered now. Or even encouraging people to bring their own cutlery.

January 10th, 2019 at 12:26 pm

John Chambers

When ordering padded envelopes make sure that we purchase ones made of recycled shredded paper instead of bubble wrap.
Also get rid of the free plastic reusable cups in staff rooms.

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