Sustainability Events in March

student shopping in a sustainable grocery store

March has two major Sustainability Events – Food Waste Action Week (4th-10th March) and Global Recycling Day (18th March). Here I will provide some in-depth information on both, then finish off with some additional information and tips on living sustainably during your time at Uni and in general. Hopefully, this will encourage you to live in a more environment-friendly way and take into account how your actions impact the Earth.  

Firstly, I would like to mention why being sustainable is important – to preserve our planet and natural resources (such as water, air, oil etc.) and reduce pollution as well as protect natural wildlife and animals. It ensures that future generations will be able to continue living in a supportable and positive way. Maintaining the Earth’s ecosystem prevents the possibility of its collapse, a well as being essential in preventing the extinction of wildlife (although currently there are many species that are in danger of facing extinction during our lifetime, such as the tiger, with only around 4,000 left in the wild) and prevent irreparably damaging the atmosphere. One fear is reaching a ‘point of no return’, where the situation is so dire (tipping points that have already been ‘tipped’) that neither rapid cuts in emissions nor direct removal of carbon will stop the irreversible climate change.

Food Waste Action Week (4th-10th March) 

WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) started Food Wate Action Week in 2021, with the aim of encouraging people to be more conscious about the food they waste and reduce how much they throw away. This year, the 4th annual Food Waste Action Week (FWAW) is focusing on the theme of “Choose What You’ll Use”. The topic centres on only buying what you need instead of buying items in bulk or large packages that may spoil before being entirely used. It aims to change behaviour that leads to excessive household food waste and reduce the amount of packaging being used (for example buying loose fruit and vegetables). Food that we throw away impacts the environment and contributes to climate change, and we are also wasting the valuable resources being used to produce it (e.g. water, land, fertiliser). Reducing food waste is also beneficial in reducing food costs/bills and promotes a more sustainable planet with less pollution. To read more about this visit the official WRAP website. To take part in reducing food wastage, try to plan your meals ahead of time, learn to understand ‘use by dates’ and pay attention to these.

Global Recycling Day (18th March) 

Recycling is another key aspect of being sustainable, and it is essential to know what items should be recycled and which bins to correctly use. Global Recycling Day was established in 2018 by the Global Recycling Foundation to promote the importance of recycling and supporting sustainable development. This awareness day is recognised by the United Nations and is celebrated around the world, as well as bringing together individuals, organisations and governments. If you wish to better understand recycling symbols, what they mean and how to look for them, visit Recycle Now. It is also necessary to empty out and clean any recyclable container and reuse anything you can before throwing it away. To see where you can recycle, check Recycling Locator. A useful list of what can be recycled can be found online. The University also has a page about which bins to use and recycling in general.

General Sustainability Tips 

Some additional tips worth mentioning are: 

  • Try to reduce your waste in general. For example, buying second-hand clothing and paying attention to overconsumption of goods. With trends coming and going much faster today, due to social media influence and easy access to the internet, as well as fast fashion, we are seeing a rise in overconsumption and waste of resources which leads to pollution. Marketing is also a large contributor to this, and it’s all too easy to be swept up in something that feels ‘essential’ and like a good deal, but in fact, really isn’t. Always think twice before buying anything, and whether there is a more sustainable alternative, as well as no impulse purchases.   
  • You should also try to shut off lights whenever they are not necessary and shut down your computer/devices whenever it is not being used to save power. Try to take shorter showers to avoid wasting water, and always turn off taps if not being used (e.g. while brushing teeth). Use towels and reusable cloths instead of paper towels (e.g. in the kitchen) and reusable shopping bags instead of plastic ones to avoid excess wastage. If everyone takes small steps to reduce wastage, this adds up to make a massive difference. 

It is extremely important to ensure you are being environmentally conscious and as sustainable as you can be, keeping in mind how your actions affect the planet. Although it may seem like these small changes will not make a significant difference in the grand scheme of things, the more people that join in to attempt to make a change, the bigger and better the change towards the right direction will be. It adds up to collectively ensure a better and less wasteful planet for future generations to enjoy, as well as preventing the extinction of wildlife and irreparably damaging the Earth’s atmosphere.

Read more about Food Waste Action Week by visiting the WRAP official website and attempt to reduce your food waste. Remember to recycle and reuse, as well as keep informed about which items can be recycled and what recycling symbols mean. Remember to think about the consequences of your actions and that even small everyday changes make a positive contribution. 

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