An initiative to ‘Go Green’ across Dublin City University (DCU) campuses was overwhelmingly supported by student votes, who have backed the eradication of single use plastics by 94%.
The policy, at DCU, which commenced on St. Patricks day, is led by the Students Union (SU), and will see an immediate ban on single use plastics with a phasing out of all plastics by 2020.
Siobhán Nic Thaidhg vice president for engagement & development at DCU says: “Going green is about a lifestyle change for most people and that’s the message we are trying to get across. Living is for life.”
DCU will be the first Irish university to go ‘plastic free’ if the initiative is successful.
Sustainability officer Samantha Fahy says: “The university and the student body has been looking at plastics, it’s a topical issue, and what we are looking at is a series of initiatives to reduce and remove single use plastics from DCU campuses.”
All canteens and restaurants in DCU will remove plastics in the form of cutlery and drinking vessels, with the aim to eventually eradicate their use completely on all campuses.
Currently, in Ireland, 2 million single use coffee cups are sent to landfill every day, as part of the Go Green initiative, DCU aims to remove all single use cups by the end of 2018.
Nic Thaidhg says, the main message to students and staff alike is about becoming more eco conscious: “A person who has never thought of changing to a reusable coffee cup might buy their first cup, or for someone who drives campus to campus it might inspire them to use the eco bikes on site.”
An NUI Galway study, recently showed that 73pc of the monitored deep water fish from the Northwest Atlantic Ocean had ingested plastic particles, a double negative for our environment and for the eco chain.
Dr Liam Morrison, of the NUI school of science and ocean research says: “I think these measures can only have a positive impact and hopefully make people aware of our everyday use of plastic materials while encouraging us to make more individual lifestyle changes aimed at reducing our use of plastics.”
As part of the plan, the onsite bar, NuBar will also stop serving drinking straws to its patrons.
Nic Thaidhg says that this is not a one-week policy, but a policy for progression, and again shows that: “Changes that can happen when student bodies come together.”
Orla O Driscoll