University of Sheffield students urged to boycott single-use plastics

Plastic waste in Sheffield city centre.
Plastic waste in Sheffield city centre.

A union officer at the University of Sheffield is encouraging students from across the campus to boycott single-use plastics.

Development officer, Megan McGrath, says she wants to create a 'resuable revolution' after becoming aware of the damage caused by the things we throw away.

Megan McGrath (Photo: Nigel Barker).

Megan McGrath (Photo: Nigel Barker).

As part of her campaign, she has introduced a plastic free 'eco' section of the university shop, and has also introduced rewards in the Students' Union for those who opt for reusables over disposables.

The former University of Sheffield student, who graduated in July 2017 with a degree in Human Sciences, says she thinks the issue is one of the biggest of her generation.

"I have always considered myself an environmentalist," she said.

"But after seeing something on Facebook about single use plastics I took a look in my fridge and realised I was a bit of a hypocrite.

Megan on a panel she organised to raise awareness of the issue at the University.

Megan on a panel she organised to raise awareness of the issue at the University.

"Since then I have actively tried to cut out as much plastic as I could."

As well as using her role at the Students' Union to affect change, Megan also writes blogs with advice for students on how to live a 'plastic-free' life.

In one post she advises students to use stainless steel straws rather than plastic ones - and also says people can save money and the environment by investing in a metal razor.

She also urges them to consider buying a bamboo toothbrush and, for students who have periods, she suggests the 'healthier, reusable' option of a mooncup.

The issue has shot up the political agenda in recent months thanks in part to the BBC's iconic Blue Planet series, which focused on the issue of plastic waste in our oceans.

"The Lad Bible is now covering the issue which is something I never thought that I would see," said Megan.

"And the Government's 25-year environmental strategy shows that they are beginning to understand that this is an issue that young people really care about."

All the products mentioned in Megan's blog are available in the new 'eco' section of the Students' Union shop on Western Road.