Policy passed at NUS Wales Conference 2022
There were two points of note during the amendment discussions both specific rather than in line with the broader direction – the first was the title of the policy (which has been updated) and the second the limiting (or, depending how it is viewed) specific nature of the focus on single use plastics. There were plenty of suggestions of specific actions which could be incorporated into the future direction of the policy but the primary amendment suggested was a line to broaden and allow Unions and their representatives to consider and work towards additional areas of sustainability. Examples included institutions net zero targets, the state of housing (insulation etc.) and use of fossil fuels. The workshop also recommended there be more funding available for students to access sustainable products e.g. reusable cups.
‘Have we taken a step back in the movement towards a sustainable future, with most colleges and universities using single-use plastic on site services?’
The submitting Student Union submitted a bid to the Welsh Government for our Environmental Project, Sustainable Future Project, and received over £22,000 for the project. Their students told them that they want to look after our environment and ensure that it is also looked after for future generations.
Following the pandemic, we have seen a large increase in catering organisations within education that have returned to single-use plastic cutlery.
The student union created an ‘Unfollow Plastic’ video. This video provides contextual information about the impact of single-use plastic, emissions, and the benefits of recycling in order to facilitate a change in behaviour, where the student communities begin to become environmentally aware and make consumer decisions where the future of the planet comes before cost and convenience.
What is the issue facing students?
The climate crisis is a local, national and international concern. Learners constantly raise concerns over environmental issues e.g. fossil fuels, net zero targets, the use of single-use plastic and the limited alternatives available options and other environmental issues.
Why is this issue important to us as a movement?
The future of our planet should be a concern to every movement. Students should be leading the way to bring about change.
What would the world look like if we solved it?
There would be a reduction in plastic in the oceans, in our drinking water, and less air pollution which would benefit all land and marine life on earth. Students should be able to make decisions around sustainability and bring about change on the climate crisis.