Category Archives: Helping the community

Going Zero Waste as a Student

Many of us want to reduce our waste, but it can seem like a huge task, especially for busy students.

Frankie Desmond spoke to Masters student Helena Ruffell about her journey towards minimising waste, which she shares on Instagram @eatsleepsustain.

Helena was inspired to start cutting back on waste by “images of coastlines and oceans full of plastic… especially those involving marine organisms and seabirds.”

“Another big influence was the fact that our landfills will just keep filling up… There will be a point where there will be no room for our waste to go.”

Helena found some aspects of reducing waste to be challenging.
“I definitely struggled with having time to make my own lunch and going supermarket shopping.

It added a couple of extra minutes to my day but I thank myself now for taking that extra time, to avoid processed and greasy fast foods!”
Helena has also noticed other benefits from her lifestyle changes, alongside reducing her waste.

“I’m eating much healthier! I’m saving lots of money not buying processed foods, and I have a lot more energy as a result. It’s also really handy just popping out to the garden to get some herbs for dinner.”

For students wanting to minimise waste, Helena suggests moving away from packaged foods as a good first step. “Instead of buying packaged crackers, scones or muffins, you can easily whip some up on a Sunday night!”

“Bringing reusable bags to the supermarket is an obvious one, and you can extend this to not using a plastic bag for your fruit and veggies!

Just go without, or reuse the millions I’m sure are hiding out under the sink in the flat.”

For some more inspiration on ways you can cut back on waste as a student, check out some of the great ideas Helena has shared on Instagram @eatsleepsustain.

SVA’s 10 Essential Lessons for Sustaining a Youth Movement

The Student Volunteer Army (SVA) this week released the 10 Essential Lessons for starting, growing and sustaining a Youth Movement, as understood by the SVA and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student leaders.

In July 2018, 28 student leaders from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School traveled to New Zealand to engage with 30 members of the 2018 Student Volunteer Army Executive.  The two groups participated in a week long exchange of ideas on youth-led change, sustainable movements, leadership and activism.

To find out more go here>

Plastic Free July: what we learned

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Hey guys! George, Juliet and Poppy here! As part of Plastic Free July, we have been working with UC Sustainability to share with you guys how we have been cutting down on our single use plastics, both on and off campus. You might have seen Poppy’s takeover on the UC Sustainability Instagram (@ucsustain, check it out!), but if you missed it, here’s what we have been up to this month.

The top four single use plastics are plastic bags, cups (coffee cups), plastic straws and plastic cutlery. There has been some progress around UC in terms of providing alternatives for single use plastics which we think is rad, but there is also a lot you can do to help! This can be as simple as buying a bamboo toothbrush (super hip and not expensive – literally $5), bringing your own coffee cup and lunch container to uni, dining in at restaurants/cafes or bringing your own reusable bags to the supermarket.

We have taken it to the next step, by heading out around Christchurch on our bikes in search of a few more ways to reduce the use of single use plastics and save some pennies at the same time!

Our favourite locations for bulk food and household items:

Bin Inn – Stanmore Road, also Lincoln Road and Hawke Street (New Brighton).

What we loved:

  • How strongly they encourage you to bring your own container/jar to reduce costs and eliminate packaging (you’ll never throw away another jam jar again!)
  • Every type of bulk food imaginable i.e. oats, nuts, couscous, rice, pasta, muesli, spices, lentils
  • Even liquids such as oils, honey, molasses, vinegar… on tap!
  • General household items i.e. dishwashing liquid, spray and wipe, laundry powder and dish wash powder (just BYO bottles, and/or tip the liquids into old spray bottles when you’re home)
  • Friendly service – the Bin Inn in New Brighton has a ‘Jar Library’ to help you out if you forget to bring enough jars/containers.

Serious money saver!! Bulk items are always so much cheaper than pre-packaged supermarket 

  • alternatives, plus you also get an extra 5% off if you BYO containers.

See Bin Inn’s videos for handy tips on bulk shopping!

Our favourite thing about Bin Inn was making our own peanut butter, it is cheap! The little jar in the picture was about $2 of peanut butter.

Piko Wholefoods – Corner of Barbadoes Street and Kilmore Street

What we loved:

  • The range of certified organic bulk foods available i.e. rice, lentils and oats – a huge range of gluten free options too
  • Also yummy tea, coffee and breads etc.
  • They are big supporters of Fair Trade products – LOTS of fair trade tea, coffee, sugar, nuts, spices, cold drinks, cocoa and chocolate options! YAY!
  • It’s encouraged to bring your own container/jar for your bulk goods (or they often have spare containers there for you to use!)
  • A wide variety of ingredients/items either wrapped in paper or in packaging that looks like plastic BUT can be composted in your home compost bin!
  • A little more pricey, but a great place to visit for your specialty goods, or yummy treats. Although the maple syrup (buy it on tap) was the cheapest we’ve seen anywhere! Yum!
  • Nice vibe and super friendly people. They also run yoga workshops and classes in the upstairs space!

We hope this helps anyone out there who is trying to be a little more plastic free (and for those already doing it! Go you!). All these little changes do make a huge difference, plus they are fun, and give you a sense of satisfaction to know that you are doing something positive for the planet and your pennies.

Huge thanks to Poppy, Juliet and George for their Plastic Free July inspiration! We think the tip about the peanut butter is awesome, what was your favourite? #plasticfreejuly

This message was bought to you by the UC Sustainability Office.
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