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UC Sustainability Champion: Meet Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Peters | Masters in Marketing, Plastic Free Blogger and Eco VolunteerThis year, we’re proud to be profiling students and staff who we believe are contributing to the culture of sustainability at UC. We are running this campaign in the lead up to the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards, so get thinking about who you’ll be nominating this year! Nominations for the Awards are open from the 5 – 31 August.

In the meantime, read on and enjoy our latest Sustainability Champion profile from plastic free blogger Elizabeth – and just in time for Plastic Free July!

29871827_10155490801062336_7562871590863254003_oElizabeth making a ‘plastic free promise’ during Plastic Free July 2018

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Elizabeth, I grew up in Christchurch. I did my undergraduate at University of Canterbury in Marketing and Management and I am currently doing my Master’s in Marketing on the topic of non-profit advertising. I spent my later years of my childhood growing up in the country and love being in nature. I now flat in town and love biking through the greener areas of Christchurch that remind me of home.

Tell us how you became involved with sustainability at UC.

I started coming along to a few events throughout my undergraduate studies, but it wasn’t until this last year that I got involved with the UC Sustainability Office and started helping more.  I love the work that the sustainability team is doing and wanted to be a part of it which I do through Eco Volunteering.

What has been a sustainability project that has meant a lot to you?

For an assignment at university we were set with a challenge to change a behavior of ours that would not only better ourselves but also the society in which we live. I chose to give up plastic. I began with the broad goal to give up all plastics… However, it was not until I started recording my plastic consumption that it started to dawn on me how pervasive plastic was in my life! Since I began this journey in 2017, I have learnt and continue to learn about the problem, and various ways in which I can be a part of the solution. I have learnt through personal experience and from the experience and research of others. Over the summer I started a blog called Glasshouse Refillery to share my journey. I also share some of my regular rhythms to living a more sustainable lifestyle on my Instagram and Facebook page – if you’re interested you can find me here: @glasshouserefillery.

I’m also volunteering my time (and my sewing machine!) at the Sustainability Office’s Plastic Free July workshop on Tuesday. Drop in and learn to make (and take home) a produce bag and a beeswax wrap and take a stand against plastic pollution with us! See the Facebook event here for all the details.

What is something that has made you feel really proud and a part of UC? 

I often bike to university and leading up to UC Sustainability’s Bike Breakfast event the bike shed was so full I had to go to one on the other side of campus! While the bike shed isn’t always full (particularly in winter!), it is great to see so many students and staff choosing to cycle to university. I am also proud to be a part of UC Sustainability’s journey in their BYO cups and containers initiative (and the cup library) at the various cafes and food establishments on campus.

Where to next for you?

Though I will soon finish my studies and no longer be a student, I will continue to do my bit for this wonderful planet that we are blessed to live on. I still have a long road ahead on my sustainability journey, but I will endeavor to be an eco-advocate where my life leads me. Endeavoring to encourage others and myself to continue to make small changes that have a big impact.

This message was bought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on Facebook, Instagram or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop about campus sustainability. This blog is part of our Sustainability Champions Campaign, where we profile UC students and staff doing great things for sustainability. This is part of our wider communications plan for the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards. For more information, and for the Awards nomination form, see our website.

 

DIY Zero Waste Workshop 23 July

Come and celebrate Plastic Free July with us!

UC Sustainability is holding a fun and free DIY workshop on Tuesday 23 July, so you can help tackle plastic pollution with us.

 

We’ll be showing you how easy and fun it is to make two plastic free essentials: produce bags and beeswax wraps!

No sewing experience is necessary – just drop in we’ll help you make your plastic free goodies to show off to your flatmates!

What: DIY Zero Waste Workshop

When: Tuesday 23rd July, drop in anytime from 12pm – 2pm

Where: Rehua 108, The Community Engagement Hub

What to bring:  We’ll supply the fabric and everything else you need, but if you have any fabric at home you’d like to use, we’d love you to bring it along to share. We do recommend using only 100% cotton for making beeswax wraps (but even an old cotton tee shirt will do the trick!)

For more information, see the Facebook event here. If you’re planning on coming, please help us by clicking ‘attending’!

We’re also doing a whole bunch of awesome plastic-free giveaways on our Facebook page all month, as well as student bloggers showing us how to go plastic free on campus – so make sure you follow us on Facebook so you don’t miss out!

This message was bought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on Facebook, Instagram or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop about campus sustainability. This is part of our contribution to Plastic Free July, where we encourage our UC community quit single use plastics for the month. For more information and tips, see the Plastic Free July website.

 

 

UC Sustainability Champion: Meet Helena!

Helena Ruffell | Masters Student in Environmental Science, Eco Volunteer and Zero Waste Inspiration

Helena Poster

This year, we’re proud to be profiling students and staff who we believe are contributing to the culture of sustainability at UC. We are running this campaign in the lead up to the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards, so get thinking about who you’ll be nominating this year! Nominations for the Awards are open from the 5 – 31 August.

In the meantime, read on and enjoy our next Sustainability Champion profile from the wonderful Helena – our passionate Zero Waster and Eco Volunteer, all while studying towards her Masters in Environmental Science (with a recently submitted thesis on micro-plastics to boot!)

Tell us about yourself!

I’m 23 now and have been at uni for nearly five and a half years! I first came to uni with no idea of what career I was interested in, and managed to find something I enjoyed along the way studying biochemistry as my undergraduate degree. I love being outside and exploring new places.

You’re studying Environmental Science. What made you decide to follow that path?

Through my undergraduate courses I learnt a lot about harmful chemicals and their effect on the environment (and us!). The more I learnt, the more responsible I felt to do something about the way we are trashing the earth (and ourselves). I started a Masters in Environmental Science to learn more about what I could do. My research project is on micro-plastics – plastics which are smaller than 5 mm, and are harmful to the environment as animals can mistake them for food. Eating too much plastic can result in a whole range of nasty effects on these poor animals. I’m looking at how much micro-plastics end up in the environment from what we wash down the sink in our houses (as the wastewater treatment plants can’t remove all of the micro-plastics).

Helena analysing the “pesky” micro-plastics in her wastewater samples to see what kind of plastics they are (polyester, nylon, acrylic etc). She’d like to say that this picture was taken before she started her Masters, and her lab coat is definitely not that clean any more!

What influence has this had on your personal life?

I couldn’t do a research topic about micro-plastics and not change anything in my life!! I started to stop using all sorts of unnecessary plastic (cling film, drink bottles, cutlery) and that just transformed into avoiding as much plastic products in general to reduce the amount of rubbish I make. It’s a scary thought to think that your first toothbrush as a baby still exists, and it might be in the belly of a whale!!

What is something that has made you feel really proud of UC?

I’ve met so many switched on people who are doing awesome things regarding sustainability! But the university is also really trying to reduce their impact too, just have a look at all the rubbish bins you can sort your waste into to stop some things like paper, organics, and recycling from going straight to landfill.

Where to next for you?

Once I finish my Masters I’m off on a trip overseas to Europe!! Follow my Instagram @eatsleepsustain to follow my progress and see my tips on how to travel without plastic (like using zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars, and my homemade natural deodorant below!)

Helena instagram 3Helena instagram 4

 

This message was bought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on Facebook, Instagram or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop about campus sustainability. This blog is part of our Sustainability Champions Campaign, where we profile UC students and staff doing great things for sustainability. This is part of our wider communications plan for the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards. Fore more information, and for the Awards nomination form, see our website.