UC Student Flo Hinder takes on Plastic Free July challenge

Fourth-year Civil Eng student Flo is one of the UC students who is going plastic free during Plastic Free July. Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the amount of single-use disposable plastic in our lives and challenges people to do something about it. Flo shared some of her plastic free tips with us, and why she is doing it.  

What will you try to do during July?

To cut out all waste actually, not just plastic! This means not purchasing single use items, no wastage (not even recycling!). However, I will use the organics collection bin because it’s a super system in Christchurch for making compost.

Why are you doing the challenge?

I think waste and consumerism have become two really big problems in today’s society. So many items are being created just for convenience, driven by purely short-term thinking and yet this will ruin us in the long term. I also think the University should really try cut down its waste more, with so many (food) places having only the option of single use items. By doing this challenge I want to show people that it is possible to live without creating as much waste!

What do you think is going to be hard?

I think going out for dinner, and going for drinks/social occasions will be challenging as it’s not a social norm to carry around your own container or glass to drink from! I also think being able to resists bargains when I am shopping will be hard, even when they are wrapped in single use plastic.

What are some of your favourite waste-free items?

I have a little wee cup set that I keep in my bag 24/7 just in case I want a beverage on the go, and there are only plastic cups. I am also pretty passionate about waste-free bathroom products. I have a safety razor that is not made of plastic and can be reused. The one I have cost about $13 and came in only cardboard packaging with tonnes of little refill blades and it works a treat! I also love my trusty bamboo toothbrush, just google ‘bamboo toothbrush’ and you’ll find heaps of options. Instead of bottled shampoo or soap, I use shampoo bars and soaps. I order mine locally from Ethique, which is run by a UC alumni! I recommend trying out the starter packs. I use a menstrual cup for that time of the month, the UC pharmacy stocks them or you can find them (cheaper) online, and I honestly think it was the best purchase I have ever made!

Want more info on plastic free bathroom products? Check out

How to get an eco-friendly beauty routine: http://www.teenvogue.com/story/how-to-get-a-sustainable-eco-friendly-beauty-routine

Zero waste bathroom essentials: https://www.youtube.com/?v= watch QMAo9O40zp0

How to have a zero waste period: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQb0HormWMc

Are you keen to take on the Plastic Free July challenge too? You don’t have to go all out! You can choose to do it for a week or the whole month and you can either refuse ALL single-use plastic or the TOP 4: plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups and straws. Have a look on the website for ideas on how to get started (and no, you don’t need to sign up)!

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz









Coffee Cup Composting Trial Continuing in 2016!

IMG_0734aAfter the success of last year, our collection of disposable coffee cups (in the blue bins) for composting is continuing this year! We will assess its progress at the end of the year. Last year we diverted over 15,000 cups from landfill with this service, a massive effort. And we reckon we could divert 250,000+ from landfill if we get this right. In 2017 we hope to expand this service to other forms of compostable packaging. This would enable us to get rid of certain kinds of disposable plastics from campus!

However, this will only be possible if the outcome of the trial is successful. And for this we need your help: success means contaminant free. So please tell your mates to use the Blue Bins but NOT to throw anything else in these bins (including food waste, plastic lids, bottles, cans, or ANYTHING other than empty coffee cups!). Why don’t we want other compostable materials in these bins at present (especially food waste)? Because we are still manually sorting the bins to check for contaminants, and going through decomposing food is pretty gross.

We also have a new addition to the team, Jessica Lunsford, who will be working on this with us this year as a Waste Assistant. Jessica has a Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Management, a Certificate in Organic Horticulture and is currently studying a BSc at UC.

Thank you for your help in this!!

For more information on the blue bin trial http://wp.me/p4A3Y6-bP


Waste infographic: “The Real Price of Bottled Water”

Single-use plastic bottles are creating a world of trouble all around the globe. Both the production and the disposal of them is incredibly taxing on the natural environment. UC recycles at least 90,000 single-use bottles in just a year. Reason enough, we believe, to delay no more and purchase a made-to-last water bottle! You can fill your bottle at various fountains on the UC Campus and you can wash it at the Heat and Eat areas.

To highlight this issue, and to accompany Matt Goodman’s photo exhibition during this last Eco Week, we developed this infographic.



Real Price of Bottled Water