My inner Game of Thrones fangirl is taking the opportunity to start this post with: Winter is Coming. But, seriously, according to my highly reliable quick google-search, winter is coming and it’s set to start on 21st December and ends mid-March.
As I sat down on to the top deck of the bus yesterday morning, panting from my chase to catch the U2, the first thing I noticed was thick ice layered on the roof of the bus. No, not outside, inside the bus. I cursed myself once, twice, thrice: I hadn’t packed myself any lunch, I left my bus pass on the kitchen table, and I didn’t bring my water bottle. Idiot, I thought, as I watched the icicles drip in time to the stop-start rhythm of the traffic onto the floor.
When I stepped off the bus, all I could think about was my morning coffee. My justification for this: I could see my breath in the air, my insides felt like ice, and I needed to feel awake for my 9am. And that’s when I remembered that I hadn’t brought a reusable coffee cup to campus. I felt awful leaving Costa with a huge disposable cup when I had my own reusable one at home. I thought about why I hadn’t brought it (minus the rush) and the lack of space in my bag is often a factor.
I don’t know about you, but, packing my bag for campus in the morning isn’t dissimilar to packing for a three-day camping excursion. I bring gym clothes, my laptop, books, chargers, and, because the coffee cup I have at the moment is a bit bulky and annoying to carry around, it’s usually the first thing to stay at home. So, to combat this, I have asked for a collapsible coffee cup for Christmas. That way, I can keep it snug in my rucksack ready for the morning bustle to campus without the worry of the extra weight.
After I (guiltily) chucked my Costa cup in the bin, I headed to the Bread Oven for lunch. I bought myself a meal-deal and everything I purchased was wrapped in plastic. Again, you got me, I didn’t feel great. However, I noticed that the Bread Oven are offering canvas bags to carry your lunches in, instead of a plastic ones. I haven’t purchased one myself because I rarely carry my lunch in a carrier bag as it is, but, if you are that person it might be a good investment! Alternatively, why not wash up your Chinese takeaway boxes you indulged in over the weekend and use them as Tupperware for your sandwiches? Stretchy plastic is one of the most difficult forms to recycle — it takes hundreds of years to decompose. By simply using Tupperware, you can cut both the Clingfilm around your sarnie and the plastic bag you carry your lunch in. Simple.
To expand on this, I for one know how easy it is to rush out of the house without a packed lunch and end up buying all of your food on campus. However, don’t let the bin eat your lunch! Campus food is often pre-packaged and wrapped in a lot of plastic. Opt in for snacks like loose fruit instead of crisps, or dine-in food like soup from the Arts Centre instead of a panini that comes in non-recyclable plastic packaging? Oh, and if you’re trying to cut down on the food you buy on campus, for environmental reasons or financial reasons, why not set a day every week where you can buy on campus? That way, you’re allowed to be lazy on your busy day and are motivated to bring your own lunches on the other days. To support the university’s Meat Free Monday scheme, I have made that the day where I treat myself to lunch on campus. Ps. The Bread Oven’s vegan specials have been top-notch this term.
As I walked out of the Bread Oven, I realised that as part of my meal-deal, I had purchased a bottle of water. Because of my morning rush, I didn’t bring a water bottle to campus. I am aware this is an obvious one, and yet I still feel like it needs to be said. We have water fountains and fill-up stations dotted around campus; and if you don’t want to get your head down and have a good slurp, then I suggest you invest in a bottle. I got my stainless steel one for roughly three pounds from Aldi. If you think about it, that covers two plastic bottles of water (£1.20 each) from Curiositea. So, here’s a bit of student bribery for you: think about all of the money on you could be saving on your Eating at Warwick card. All the more money for your morning coffee… in your reusable cup, of course!
Winter is definitely a “treat yourself” time of year, and, I am here for it. But my terrible mess of a Tuesday morning taught me that we need to be ‘here for it’ responsibly. No, one day like mine isn’t going to ruin our planet, but let’s try to minimise the damage when we are on campus. Let’s be aware that a day like mine should be a rarity, especially when the smallest of changes can make such a huge difference.
By Georgie Head