The University of Exeter has officially announced its target of becoming ‘plastic free’ across its campuses by the year 2020. This development comes in support of the Plastic Free Exeter campaign, which aims to make Exeter one of the first cities in the UK to be ‘plastic free’.
The goal of becoming ‘plastic free’ most specifically targets the elimination of ‘single-use’ plastics, such as plastic coffee cups, takeaway containers and straws. It is use of this type of plastic that the University seeks to phase out. Plastic Free Exeter estimates that 50% of plastic is only used once before it is thrown away.
“50% of plastic is only used once before it is thrown away” (plastic free exeter)
As part of the first phase of this new sustainability drive, the University aims to eliminate use of plastic straws and drink stirrers by the start of next academic year in all outlets across campus. This will be followed by the removal of plastic cups over the next few months. Use of paper cups has reportedly already been slashed by 50,000 since a drive to use reusable cups on campus.
Campaigns to reduce and eliminate single-use plastics have continue to gather force across the UK. In particular, this follows the BBC series Blue Planet II, which highlighted the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans when it aired earlier this year.