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#2023plasticfree in the curriculum

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Leeds Living Lab

Kashmir Kaur, one of our Staff Sustainability Architects, has successfully embedded the #2023plasticfree pledge into the sustainability module she delivers in the School of Languages, Culture and Societies.

This 10-week Language in Context module is for international and study abroad students from multiple disciplines. They take this optional course before embarking on their studies in their respective departments across the University. For the past two years, Kashmir has incorporated the #2023plasticfree pledge in her teaching. This has enabled students to gain a broad knowledge on sustainability which can make a huge impact in their academic studies and beyond.

In January 2019, Kashmir secured funding from the Sustainability Service’s Living Lab Programme to create an art exhibition raising awareness of the #2023plasticfree pledge. Students from the Languages in Context Sustainability module created art sculptures using single-use plastic materials obtained from the University’s waste disposal services.

The exhibition enabled those students involved to gain a full understanding of the background to the pledge and the scale of single-use plastic consumption across the University. Furthermore, the exhibition was put on display in multiple locations across the University, one sculpture 'Sustainable Tree' is currently exhibited in the Edward Boyle Library foyer. This has helped to raise awareness of the pledge and act as a conversation starter for the wider staff and student body.

In January 2020, the module turned to focus on the students' individual behaviour change. This cohort kept a diary to understand how their behaviour changed with increased understanding of sustainability, and presented their experience at the Student Sustainability Research Conference. They shared how their own behaviour changed with an increased understanding of single-use plastic, alongside how this could be applied in their own academic fields. Kashmir told us about the presentation:

The students' presentation was engaging and honest, explaining how they had learnt about sustainability within both a local and global context, applying this to the University of Leeds Sustainability Strategy and the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. They discussed how they will now apply this knowledge to both their professional and personal lives.

Kashmir’s dedication to embedding the #2023plasticfree pledge within teaching is an inspiration for the creative ways that sustainability can be incorporated into the curriculum.

If you are working towards embedding sustainability into your work, or would like support in doing so take a look at our Staff Sustainability Architects webpage or get in touch with us at

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United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our work on #2023plasticfree in the curriculum is linked to the following SDGs:

      • Goal 4: Quality Education
      • Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.