The future of our beautiful planet is at risk from climate change, pollution and unsustainable practices. But we can all do our part (however small) to reduce our carbon footprint. And this is exactly what Library and Learning Services have been exploring!

By rethinking our approach to student engagement we are empowering YOU to become an agent of change for the environment. And when better to tell you more about how we have been achieving this than on World Environment Day.

This year World Environment Day is asking you to join the global effort to #BeatPlasticPollution! And that’s exactly what we’ve done for our student events and campaigns. Over the past 12 months we’ve slowly, and mindfully, replaced and upgraded our ‘freebies’ and engagement activities to introduce:

Eco-Friendly Freebies

Book Bags made from 70% recycled cotton (from off cuts, waste cotton and towels) blended with 30% polyester (from recycled plastic bottles). Each bag has a strapline and green tag indicating they are ‘made from recycled materials’.

Pens made from 100% natural resources and fully compostable at end of life. Yes, even the ‘plastic’ parts! Which are made from polylactic acid found naturally in corn starch, yucca or sugar cane. In addition to our branding we included directions to encourage you to ‘compost me’ at the end of the pens life.

UniSkills book bags, glass voting jars and eco-friendly tokens.
Compost caddy in front of garden compost bin.
Black UniSkills book bags with compostable pens on top.

Sustainable Sweets

Individually wrapped (compostable cellophane) fruit drops (vegan and gluten free), and a kitchen compost caddy to collect your wrappers have been provided at larger scale events. Your wrappers are taken home at the end of each event and composted in my very own vegetable garden!

Reusable Voting Activity

Three glass jars (recyclable) with bamboo lids (reusable) were bought locally. Along with a set of biodegradable tokens made from starch bioplastics, which completely break down if exposed to elements. And the tokens were sourced from a company in North Wales, further helping us contribute to fewer unnecessary travel emissions. We’ve used these jars to run fun polls for you at different events!

Ethical Rewards

One of the polls invited you to vote on which ‘prize’ you would most like to win with three sustainable options to choose from:

  • Locally sourced UniSkills goodie bag filled with eco-friendly stationery and study essentials
  • Food and drink voucher to spend on campus catering facilities
  • eVoucher of your choice, with encouragement to purchase from an ethical company

The result fell in favour of the eVoucher and have influenced how we approach future competitions across Library and Learning Services. To date winners have chosen to purchase eVouchers for a range places, even including a re-donation to a local foodbank!

Breakdown of eVouchers. 25% Amazon, 19% Beauty, 19% EHU/Local Food, 19% Supermarkets, 12% Local shops and 6% Foodbank Donation.
A breakdown of the eVouchers YOU have been asking us to buy as prizes in 2022/2023.

Read the research

We hope you’ve enjoyed engaging with us this past year, and joining us as advocates for the environment!

If you’re keen to read more about the history and research behind our sustainable approach be sure to pop over to the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education (ALDinHE) #Take5 Blog Sustainable Student Engagement: Get in the (compost) bin!