Food Unpacked Campaign

With an increase in awareness of the plastic problem across the globe, more and more students have been showing concern and want to learn how they can take action. We wanted to tackle this with a visual campaign that not only showed students how much plastic packaging they consume every week, but also how they can reduce this.

We did this by asking two pairs of students to keep all their food packaging for a week, with one group being asked to shop sustainably by avoiding plastic packaging. The difference between the amounts collected was huge, revealing that you can reduce plastic packaging when shopping consciously. Further findings showed that meat and dairy often had a lot of plastic packaging and buying in bulk was a better option to try and avoid excessive packaging.

To illustrate our findings, we held a stall for a week showing all the packaging collected, talking to students about their thoughts on the amount of single-use plastics collected. Many students said they found it hard to avoid buying plastic packaging and wanted supermarkets to lessen the amount of single-use packaging sold to reduce the environmental impacts.

In response to this, we decided to start a petition to send to local supermarkets asking them to reduce the amount of single-use plastics used in store – gathering over 150 signatures so far!

Charlie Cotton had to say: “In order to spread awareness for this issue, we made a video highlighting the campaign objectives and results. We included top tips to avoid single-use plastics to help students shop sustainably. These are:

  • Bring your own shopping bags
  • Buy loose fruit and vegetables
  • Choose tins over plastic packaging
  • Bring your own water bottle
  • Say no to unnecessary plastic packaging

Lauren O’Shea added: “We have collected student opinions on sustainability throughout the year at focus groups, through surveys and at our Student Rep Conference. We have found students are extremely engaged in sustainability and care a lot about making the world a greener place. We would like to take all of the ideas and use them to inform campaigns for next year, empowering students to take these on themselves to raise awareness and gain valuable leadership skills.“


Check out our video and learn more: