Pupil housemates from Loughborough College have been challenged to reside extra sustainably, with weekly challenges set by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme. How did they get on?
The scholars have been challenged to cut back their plastic use by 75%, which they discovered troublesome.
“It is arduous once you’re on a pupil finances, getting something not wrapped in plastic is a lot dearer,” Amy defined.
Plastics guru Lucy Siegle gave them a serving to hand, swapping their numerous bathe bottles for sustainable variations of shampoo, toothpaste and cleaning soap bars.
She additionally gave them reusable gadgets like espresso cups and cutlery and instructed them to vary their purchasing habits.
However Amy mentioned they discovered supermarkets a specific downside as “every little thing was wrapped in plastic”.
“And going to the butcher’s was dearer than getting pre-packaged stuff,” she added.
At the beginning of the week, Ms Siegle weighed the plastic within the college students’ dwelling, which totalled 2.8lb (1.3kg) – a determine she described as “reasonably rather a lot”.
Together with her recommendation, the scholars lowered it to 1.5lb.
“I am nonetheless actually happy with them,” she mentioned. “Particularly as after I noticed all of the bottles they [initially] had of their rest room, I almost gave up.”
Ms Siegle mentioned she thought the group had adopted the mindset shift actually rapidly, experiencing outrage over every little thing being plastic.
She urged them to be extra militant by unwrapping merchandise on the grocery store checkout and leaving the plastic behind to make the purpose.
“We have to take a stand,” she mentioned.
Marcus Rudd, one of many housemates, had hoped that his purchasing habits – shopping for 10 to 15 T-shirts a 12 months, mixed with some designer items – have been environmentally pleasant.
Then he discovered that it took three,000 litres of water on common to make just one T-shirt.
The style business – which makes 100 billion clothes every year – is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases, water air pollution, air air pollution and the overuse of water.
It’s exacerbated, MPs say, by so-called “fast fashion” – cheap clothes produced quickly by mass-market retailers.
Sustainable stylist Alice Wilby taught the scholars to reuse, restore and recycle, encouraging them to swap quick trend for second-hand.
She challenged Marcus and his housemate Goby Chan, who commonly buys garments she doesn’t put on, to make a brand new outfit from outdated garments to mannequin at London Trend Week.
“We purchase a lot stuff and half of it sits unworn behind the wardrobe,” Ms Wilby mentioned.
“Earlier than we purchase the rest it is nice to see what you have already bought, and fall again in love along with your issues.”
Goby loved the problem. “I used to be shocked by what you are able to do by reusing a garment and making it into one thing new which is definitely actually trendy. I really like it.”
And Ms Wilby mentioned they did effectively.
“Contemplating Marcus had by no means set foot in a second-hand store earlier than – and thought they have been smelly locations with garments you’d by no means need to purchase – by the tip of the week he was discovering items he actually cherished. That was a extremely nice victory.
“These two store rather a lot, and over the previous month [since the challenge] he has solely purchased one merchandise.”
The scholars took dramatic motion to cut back their vitality utilization – and it labored.
They used a lot much less heating – switching it off at night time; carrying jumpers, coats and blankets; and usually preserving the home slightly bit cooler.
It made an enormous distinction to their gasoline utilization – slicing it by a whopping 48%.
In addition they lowered their electrical energy utilization by 15%. This added as much as a 44% carbon saving – round a tonne of carbon in all.
“It was an enormous effort – it was freezing in our home,” mentioned Marcus Golby.
“[Before] we weren’t speaking when issues have been happening and going off, so that you ended up with the heating on the vast majority of the time,” defined Amy.
“This month we’re having extra of a steadiness of preserving heat and preserving the heating off once we’re out.”
Dr Rosie Robison, an vitality knowledgeable from Anglia Ruskin College, mentioned it raised wider questions on whether or not the main focus ought to be on people utilizing much less vitality or the “wider duties for landlords or householders, housebuilders and authorities for interested by how our houses can require much less fossil gas within the first place”.
A 3rd of all meals made for human consumption is wasted yearly – costing the typical UK household £700 every year, estimates recommend.
The scholars have been challenged to chop their meals waste by 50% and transfer to the planetary well being weight loss plan – a plant-based weight loss plan with small quantities of meat and fish.
Dr Elliot Woolley, a senior lecturer in sustainable manufacturing at Loughborough College, inspired them to retailer their meals extra fastidiously to cease it turning into spoiled, plan their meals and put together the correct amount of meals for the individuals consuming.
He mentioned that they discovered the problem arduous, however had lowered their meals waste from eight.1lb to six.8lb, which he described as “a reasonably small discount”.
Dr Woolley added: “One of many issues it exhibits is even once you’re conscious of the issue and also you’re making an attempt to cut back waste, it is so ingrained into how we waste and use meals that truly we proceed with these giant quantities.”
Housemate Will Smith mentioned their waste totals have been boosted by meals purchased earlier than the problem which had began to go off, however admitted: “I do not assume we did too effectively.”
However he mentioned it had modified his mindset and he would proceed making an attempt to not waste meals in future.
The Sustainable College students collection was produced and directed by Owen Kean and Tom Yeates, with analysis by Curtis Gallant and Simon O’Leary.