Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Shane De Rís is to cease all consumption of plastic for 24 hours next Wednesday for Trinity’s “Green Day”, alongside other SU officers from across the country. To emphasise the importance of a plastic-free lifestyle, De Rís is set to document the plastic-free day on TCDSU social media outlets as well as his personal accounts.
Trinity’s “Green Day” aims to promote environmental consciousness on campus. Activities organised for the event include film viewings, debates, eco-tours of Trinity, and festivities spotlighting “locally sourced foods”.
A social media collaboration between TCDSU and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) will further supplement the eco-friendly celebrations. Students’ unions from other colleges and universities in Ireland are also set to take part in the occasion and document their plastic-free experiences.
Speaking to Trinity News, TCDSU Environmental Officer Pola Radomska stated: “The aim of this challenge is to raise awareness of the huge rates of unnecessary plastic and how much of it can be replaced with more sustainable materials.”
Radomska outlined the regulations of the challenge, explaining De Rís “will be unable to use any products containing plastic during those 24 hours. He will receive a budget of between €25 to €50 to purchase any plastic-free necessities that he will need to use that day”.
Upon obtaining these products, De Rís is to blog about where he sourced plastic-free alternatives to his typical daily items, in addition to the challenges he faced in trying to live without plastic for a day.
Radomska expressed her desire to “expand the challenge to the student population” later in the year during “Green Week”, a five-day event which raises awareness and provides solutions to environmental issues.
Union of Students in Ireland (USI) Vice-President for Welfare and Equality Aisling Cusack stated: “This day will highlight the everyday doings that don’t ultimately require plastic and how we can tackle the overuse of plastic by using reusable water bottles and alternatives to plastic when seeking take out options, such as compostable or plant based containers. It will also highlight how difficult it can be to avoid plastic in certain areas on campus.”
“We have seen time and time again that students are open to change and with this campaign, we hope students can become aware of the changes they can make as well as work towards having a greener campus overall,” Cusack continued.
In 2013, Trinity obtained Green Flag campus status as a result of its eco-friendly endeavors. As the first university in a capital city to be awarded the flag globally, College aims to partake in the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN).
Due to the success of the TCD Plastic Solutions lobby group during the 2017/18 academic year, Trinity is on track to phase out all plastic bottles on campus with more environmentally-friendly alternatives by September 2019.