Union Shop Cuts Plastic Waste

The Union Shop is committed to continually finding new ways to be more sustainable and make as little impact on the planet as possible. We’ve introduced some new initiatives so you can help play your part!

In line with the Students’ Union’s goals, the Union Shop is committed to continually finding new ways to be more sustainable and make as little impact on the planet as possible. We’ve introduced some new initiatives so you can play your part!

One of our top priorities is to reduce the amount of single-use plastic used by our students; some of the worst culprits are cutlery, carrier bags and crisp packets.

Reuse Your Bag

We’ve all been paying for plastic carrier bags for a while now, which has taken billions of bags out of circulation. The original 5p charge on single-use carrier bags has cut sales in the bigger supermarkets by a whopping 95% since 2015! As you’re probably aware, in May this year the government increased the carrier bag charge from 5p to 10p. Here at the Union Shop, we were ahead of the game and already charged 10p for carrier bags because we want to ramp up the war on plastic waste. Our aim is that students, staff and anyone else who visits the shop will think twice, do I really need a bag? We know what you’re thinking: where is that extra money going? Every penny spent in the Union Shop is re-invested in supporting students at Royal Holloway.

Our 10p plastic bags are already a greener alternative because they are compostable. However, you can go a step further by investing in one of our reusable tote bags. Not only will your tote bag come in handy to do the shopping, but you’ll also get a cool souvenir that will last you ages! There are two options on offer: the Union Shop tote (£4) or our extra strong Royal Holloway, University of London print tote (£8.25). After a term of using your reusable Union Shop tote bag, you’ll have more than made your money back on plastic bag savings – definitely a no-brainer! Don’t forget to pick up a tote bag next time you’re at the Union Shop and contribute to looking after the environment.

Reduce Single-Use Cutlery

In a similar vein, the government is planning a consultation this autumn and is rumoured to be banning single-use plastic plates, cutlery and cups in due course. We believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to cut down on plastic from producer to organisation, all the way to you, the consumer. We’ve decided to be proactive and introduce some initiatives at the Union Shop to help achieve our sustainability vision. We have metal cutlery available for you to buy, which can be used time and time again. Alongside the plastic carrier bag charge, we’ve introduced a 10p charge on plastic cutlery at the Union Shop. As soon as our remaining stock of plastic cutlery is finished; we will be replacing it with wooden alternatives. We think your lunch will taste even better with some sustainable cutlery!

Recycle Your Crisp Packets

We know you love a £3.30 meal deal from the Union Shop but have you ever thought about where your crisp packet ends up? The UK throws away a shocking amount of crisp packets, more than 16 million every day! Luckily, there are now ways to recycle a wider range of plastics. The Union Shop has teamed up with the University’s Geography department in a bid to encourage students and staff to recycle even more.

You can do your bit by recycling your empty crisp packets right here on campus. It’s really quick, easy and will make a huge difference. We’ve organised for there to be a drop point in the Emily Wilding Davison foyer just outside the Union Shop and at the heart of campus. When you’ve finished your delicious packet of crisps, all you need to do is drop it off in the designated recycling bin. We will collect all your crisp packets until we have enough to send to TerraCycle, who will reuse the material to make new things such as benches and tables. We’re sure you would agree this is an exciting project and a great alternative to unnecessarily sending more rubbish to landfill sites!

TerraCycle is an innovative recycling organisation that has become a global leader in recycling the ‘non-recyclable’ and we can’t wait to use their services!

We’re really excited to see students back on campus and visiting us at the Union Shop. Hopefully, we’ve got you thinking about how you can reduce your environmental footprint!