How eco-friendly are our young people?

I am conducting a research task on the students of BCM212, as well as reading widely through a number of sources to find the answer to if young people actually are taking steps to create an eco-friendly environment. I will focus on if students bring their own water bottle, keep cup (if they drink coffee) and a packed lunch (if they eat on campus).

I have begun my research through a simple tweet,

with plans to broaden this by creating a form for people to fill out which would give me a more in-depth answer to if students are consciously packing their own water bottle and keep cups to help make a difference to the environment. The research will inform the university on how they can promote sustainable actions around the university.

In an article released by UNSW #KeepYourCup, the university admits to using “13 million coffee cups a year, which equates to more than 30 tonnes of waste.” To encourage students to bring their own cafes are discounting coffees when you bring a reusable cup. UOW could start this initiative as well, as it encourages (broke) university students to get cheaper coffee.

Single-use plastics are also hurting the pockets of the cafes. It is found that reusable packaging systems cost less than single-use packaging, therefore not only saving the environment but the pockets of our local university cafes. “Packing is now a primary user of virgin materials,” which is why the cost is growing. This article sustains my plead for universities to create a KeepCup system. It is shown in my tweet above that students are bringing reusable items, but with the extra encouragement from the institution, a bigger difference would be made.

“Universities are big consumers and emitters,” according to the article, ‘This is how universities can lead climate action.’ “…which contribute to our climate crisis.” The article goes on to talk about sustainable energy and creating our own reusable energy. This isn’t what my own research is looking into, but the article provides a good amount of information on the carbon footprints that universities are leaving. Changing this starts small, (as small as a coffee cup).

Concluding this pitch, I want to summarise that the research I am conducting is to see how many students of BCM212 bring their own water bottles and coffee cup to university. It will be sustained through a google doc form and more tweets. It is relevant to the university as it will provide them with information on how many students are bringing keep cups, or would if discounts were applied.

Coelho, P. et al. (2020) “Sustainability of reusable packaging–Current situation and trends”, Resources, Conservation & Recycling: X, 6, p. 100037 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rcrx.2020.100037. I can use this source by showing how the expense of single-use is more than reusable coffee cups, therefore it gives the university more initiative to implement discounts on keep cups.

Hicks, A.L. (2018), Environmental Implications of Consumer Convenience: Coffee as a Case Study. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 22: 79-91. https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12487 This article won’t be used as it is a case study on how the production of coffee affects the environment.

#KeepYourCup for cheaper coffee on campus | Inside UNSW (2022). Available at: https://www.inside.unsw.edu.au/campus-life/keepyourcup-cheaper-coffee-on-campus. I have referenced this article above, explaining how other universities are promoting reusable coffee cups.

This is how universities can lead climate action (2020). Available at: https://theconversation.com/this-is-how-universities-can-lead-climate-action-147191. This article points out ways that universities can create more sustainable energy and doesn’t help in the research I am doing, but I have used quotes above as it outlines that the carbon footprint that universities are emitting is large.

Chudwick. E, Salveminin. M, Welker. A. “Implementing water refill stations across campus to promote reusable water bottle use,” https://www1.villanova.edu/content/dam/villanova/sustainability/Student%20Research/HydrationStation2013.pdf. This source acted as the groundworks for my idea and will be implemented more in-depth in my research as it provides evidence for the research I am conducting on how students need to bring more reusable items.

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