Tips from our students on how to live an eco-friendly lifestyle

Over the past few months our students have been diving deep into the topic of eco-friendly and zero waste lifestyles. Their teachers from the Entrepreneurial leadership department joined up with teachers from STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) department to create a complex educational approach toward this subject. Feel inspired by our students and their tips.

What is a circular economy?

A circular economy is a regenerative system in which resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimised by slowing, closing, and narrowing energy and material loops. This can be achieved through long-lasting design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, and closed recycling loops. This contrasts with a linear economy which is a ‘take, make, dispose’ model of production (“Circular Economy”). a circular economy takes in goods at the end of their useful life cycle and uses them as the raw materials to either recreate them (like recycling paper) or new products (like tires becoming asphalt). When the ‘end’ is also the ‘beginning’ of another process, one can carry on infinitely, like a road that reconnects back to itself (Friedman, Huffpost)

Why is it important?

The use of reusable products in long-term will have a positive impact in various ways. It can save you money, contribute to a circular economy, most importantly it is healthier and more environmentally friendly. As easy of a step this is, it remains unpopular with many people. There are many ways of reducing pollution in our everyday lives, all it takes is for one to believe that their actions can contribute to big change.

  • Food packaging accounts for almost 23 of total packaging waste by volume-Hunt and others, 1990
  • Everyday people only in US use 500000000 plastic straws (that would fill over 127 school buses/day), based on research performed by BeStrawFree, a campaign advocating against the use of plastic straws.

Everyone can contribute to a circular economy with little manageable adjustments to their everyday lifestyle. Bellow we would like to share some of the tips you as an individual, school and a business can adopt and preserve our environment through a circular economy.

Tips for you as an individual:

  • Instead of buying bags each time you go to a restaurant or store, you can take your own reusable bags, sacks and jars.
  • The next time you visit a restaurant you can bring your own container, cup/bottle.
  • You can tell the restaurant staff not to serve your drink with a straw. Should you need a straw you can always ask if the restaurant has reusable straws, alternatively, you can purchase your own glass or metal straw.
  • When buying things always check where your products are produced, the golden rule is always go for local. Locally produced goods and materials are not transported over long distances and thus have a smaller negative impact on the environment. Alan Davidson emphasizes on this point in his book The Oxford Companion to food, “Eating local foods has much to recommend it. It seems commonsensical to cook resources that belong to a place in the same manner as do the consumers of those resources. It appears to confirm the broader meaning of gastronomy which encompasses place, personality, and history” (Oxford Companion to Food). Another great book on this topic is by Mayer Hillman, titled “How Can We Save the Planet”.

Tips for school canteens or buffets:

  • Avoid using single-use products (Like cling film or aluminum foil to wrap foods like baguettes and sandwiches). Instead, store these in reusable sealable containers. When serving students ask if they would like a paper tissue. It is highly we would recommend that students bring their own containers.
  • Avoid buying non-reusable cups and use reusable cups instead.

Tips for restaurants:

  • As a restaurant, you may swap your plastic straws for reusable glass or metal straws. For the safety of your young customers, it is highly recommended that you use paper or silicone straws as the glass and steel straws pose an injury risk for children.
  • Instead of using disposable cutlery or cups, you can use reusable stainless-steel cutlery, glass/steel cups and reusable plates.

Tips formulated and reference researched by:
Samuel Banas, Lucia Curillova, Benedikt Farkas, Jakub Holak, Rebeka Jirsakova, Olga Ratajczak, Daniel Stefanik, Nastasia Vrablova, Benjamin Bush, Nikola Datkova, Terezia Gurova, Kristina Horinkova, Domonika Jurasova, Emma Miklasova, Matej Sevcik, David Vaclavik

Article by: Smangaliso Mbili

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