A student’s guide to being more eco-friendly

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A student’s guide to being more eco-friendly (and how you can protect our seas)

Litter dropped will often end up in our rivers, which can eventually drift out to sea harming fish and sea life. This is the same with items which get flushed down the toilet. It is important to be mindful of where you dispose of your rubbish, as most objects can clog both your drains and rivers, leading to flooding.

It is important to be aware of such eco-friendly habits, as so much we do every day is harmful to the environment without us really knowing. So here are some helpful eco-tips to keep in mind during your time at university!

Be mindful of what you flush

When foreign objects are flushed down the toilet, they cause problems on their journey towards the sea. These items clump together which often leads to blocked pipes, causing flooding of homes and gardens. As well as this, by flushing items such as condoms, cotton balls and wet wipes, our beaches can become really littered.

Tips

  • Only ever flush the 3Ps – pee, poo and (toilet) paper
  • Make sure you keep a small bin in your bathroom, so you or anyone else is not tempted to flush litter.
  • Remember that all wipes, cotton wool, buds and sanitary products belong in a bin even though some claim to be “biodegradable” or “flushable”

Most of the plastic littering the earth eventually finds its way to the ocean. Recent research by a wastewater company – UKDN Waterflow – shows that commonly flushed items like wet wipes and tampon applicators can take up to 500 years to biodegrade in the ocean due to the plastic molecules contained within it. Try their quiz to find out how long the items you flush take to biodegrade in the ocean. 

Avoid single-use plastics

Avoiding single-use plastics such as water bottles, plastic cutlery and excessive use of shopping bags, is a great way to keep plastic use at a low, as well as out of our rivers and oceans.

Studies have shown that 1 in 4 fish contains particles of plastic – with the amount of plastic currently circulating, it is expected that there will be more plastic weight than fish in our oceans in 2050.

Tips

  • Buy a reusable bottle or travel mug and stop buying bottles – fill this up or request for coffee shops to make your drink in your own reusable mug. Chains like Starbucks will give discounts to those who bring their own reusable travel mugs.
  • Stop buying plastic bags each time you go shopping – invest in some bags for life, or even a reusable hessian bag to carry your shopping in.

Recycle

Recycling is one of the most environmentally friendly habits out there. Make a habit of repurposing or recycling items within your household and you’ll be surprised how much you would usually just throw away.

Over 60% of households across the UK are now recycling due to major environmental concerns. If you are unsure of where your local recycling plant is or you’d like to find out more about recycling at home, you can check here and get involved.

Tips

  • Make sure you collect and recycle cardboard, glass jars and plastic containers or bottles by putting them in the correct bin.
  • Remember that one dirty item can contaminate the rest of your items – make you’re your recyclable bottles or jars are empty, rinsed out and dry. Once cardboard or paper comes into contact with food or liquid, it cannot be recycled anymore

This isn’t an exhaustive list of ways you can help the environment. But, by adopting these eco-friendly habits and being mindful of your carbon footprint, you can make a difference and help keep Aberystwyth’s oceans clear of plastic and litter.

Interested in helping reverse the impact of bad habits? Our next Beach Clean is on Wednesday 11th December, 2pm and will be a Holiday Jumper Special! To get involved email the Volunteering Coordinator, Amy, on alg51@aber.ac.uk or keep an eye out on our facebook page.

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