In 2018 The University of Leeds and Leeds University Union together pledged to become single-use plastic-free by 2023.
This commitment to phase out single-use plastic across the board, not just in catering and office spaces is a very complex challenge. It involves mapping plastic use across the University and Union and then identifying action plans to end its use through finding alternatives and changing ways of working. It will also require working with external partners and supply chains to phase out the amount of plastic products and packaging coming onto campus.
The pledge commits catering and office spaces to becoming single-use plastic-free by 2020, with the longer-term goal of lab space and other services by 2023. This is a very ambitious target and will involve collaboration, research and operational changes to be successful.
Take a look at our strategy for how we plan to achieve this.How can I help?
Progress so far
One million pieces of single-use plastic have been removed from use across the University and Union during the first year of the pledge.
This is a fantastic achievement – colleagues across the University have really taken the plastic-free pledge on and accomplished some brilliant things and we can already celebrate some notable successes.
Successes so far
What’s planned for 2020?
Our main priorities for the next year include:
- focusing on catering and offices to make them single-use plastic-free by the end of the year
- engaging with retail partners and suppliers to find innovative solutions to remove single-use plastic from their packaging
- working with procurement to understand our plastic footprint further, across all areas of the University; and
- promoting best practice and sharing knowledge to encourage further activity, both within the University and across the Leeds city region and the HE sector as a whole
How can you help?
We need everyone’s support to achieve the 2023 target, and there are loads of ways you can get involved:
- review your work or study area to understand where single-use plastics are being used, and contribute to our mapping exercise (fill out the form below to receive our template document available for you to use)
- make a positive change; if you know of a solution to reduce or eradicate single-use plastic where you work or study, then please do it if you need ideas or help then get in touch
- become a Staff Sustainability Architect to help deliver plastic-focused sustainability projects specific to your area of work
- Work with us to develop a Blueprint plan for your school or service. This process will identify sustainability impacts and opportunities for your team in order to develop an action plan bespoke to your area of work
- Undertake research focused on single-use plastic solutions and innovation through your degree course, or our Living Lab programme
To get more information on these and receive a copy of the review template document complete the form below;
To achieve our ambition of a single-use plastic-free University we will work closely with stakeholders including staff, students and suppliers, to identify plastics and develop action plans to remove them or replace them with sustainable alternatives.
The delivery strategy involves three key elements; operational changes, research and collaboration, which are all underpinned by communication, engagement and governance. Details of these areas have been outlined below:
- Operational changes
These are the operational changes required across the University to manage and reduce single use plastic. This will involve mapping single use plastic, building the knowledge and capacity of staff, and changing policies, guidelines and processes of operational procedures in support of the pledge.
We will actively encourage and support research around single use plastic, including alternatives, infrastructure developments and behaviour change. This will be encouraged through academics projects, student curriculum projects and our Living Lab programme.
We will build networks of activity internally between our staff and students and externally with our stakeholders, supply chain and sector partners in order to share learning overcome the challenges together.
Get in touch with us and show us what you’re doing through our social media using #2023plasticfree and tagging us on Twitter @UoL_Sus, Instagram @uol_sus and Facebook @UolSustainability or email ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
To understand our definition of single-use plastic, why we made the pledge and details behind the timeframe, view our current FAQ page here.