Staffordshire University’s Union shop has launched a new zero waste range as part of a scheme to help cut down on the use of non-biodegradable plastics and food wastage.
The shop is filled with over fifty different products from fresh fruit to pastas and even household items like washing up liquid. It also avoids unnecessary plastic packaging by reusing containers.
The Student Eats programme, ran by the National Union of Students, aims helps to reduce food waste by only buying as much as or as little as you need. Students can by three days worth of food rather than going hungry when money is tight, with most of the produce being cheaper than leading supermarkets such as Tesco.
Project Manager, Stephanie Cairncross, saw the opportunity to have a zero waste range and decided it was ideal for the Staffordshire University campus as there was not yet anything available like it: “I am beyond proud of our Zero Waste Shop, it’s in a great location for students, staff and locals and its affordable. Hopefully it will create positive behaviour change by demonstrating how beneficial it is to shop zero waste.”
At Staffordshire University, the zero waste range in the College Road Union Shop is monitored by the zero waste committee, a group of staff and students from different departments across the university. They look over reviews and suggestions for produce and make democratic decisions on changes and improvements. All activities are reported to the Student Unions’ Green working group in regular meetings.
The installation of the eco-friendly range wasn’t easy, but it was important to Stephanie and the zero waste committee to offer something for everyone and demonstrate the benefits of a change to zero waste. “Going zero waste is a big lifestyle change” Stephanie explains, “but one that makes a huge difference and impact on our planet. The main thing that we want to achieve is making it look easy and demonstrating that it’s affordable to do for students.”
The scheme has received an overwhelming amount of support and positive feedback from students, and aims to have the range increasing in the near future. Many praised the programme for its efforts to cut down the amount of waste plastic while others were keen to be able to buy a chosen amount of produce for cheaper.
To suggest your own products to be added to the range and give feedback head to the ‘game changers’ section of the Staffordshire University Union website or use the feedback box by the scales in the shop. Take a look at our TV package covering the zero waste range below and head the College Road union shop to try the range for yourself.