Keele University Students’ Union has launched an ambitious new venture aimed at cutting plastic pollution across the University. The Zero Waste Shop is one of the first student-led outlets in the country selling products that have no packaging. The enterprise, which is based within the existing Keele SU shop, will be open to all, offering students, staff and visitors an alternative way to shop. The Keele Key Fund, which provides grants across the University, has helped cover the majority of the shop’s set-up fees. The concept is simple – shoppers select their purchases which are then weighed by staff and decanted into containers that customers bring with them or a recycled paper bag, meaning transactions will generate zero waste. A wide variety of staples will be stocked in the shop including cereal, dried fruits, grains and pasta, as well as herbs, spices and household essentials. Alternatives to disposable single-use coffee cups and straws will also be on sale. Self-service will enable shoppers to select as little or as much as they need further minimising unnecessary waste. Keele SU will also be creating and distributing recipe cards, and providing consumers customers with all the guidance they need to produce healthy, nutritious and economical meals from the raw ingredients stocked in the shop. Sam Gibbons, Keele Students’ Union Activities and Community Officer, said: “In the past year there has been a greater call for a move away from single-use plastics, known lovingly as the ‘Attenborough effect’ inspired by an episode of on ocean plastics. Students have lodged motions at our University General Meetings to remove plastics in the Students’ Union, and setting up the shop is a direct response to the requests of our members. By supporting this project the Keele Key Fund is helping students become more responsible consumers and creating solutions to the world-wide plastic problem. I feel this is once again showing Keele University leading the way on sustainability in the HE sector, and another step to embedding sustainability into everything that we do.” The Zero Waste Shop will be open for business from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday and 10am – 4pm at the weekends.
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