The University of Leeds and Leeds University Union have pledged to become single-use plastic-free by 2023.
The joint 2023PlasticFree campaign will involve mapping plastic use across the University and Union, and then identifying action plans for more challenging areas.
It will also include working with partners and supply chains to phase out the number of plastic products and packaging coming onto campus.
Leeds University Chancellor, Dame Jane Francis said: ‘The shift in public opinion about the use of plastics has been phenomenal, but organisations of all shapes and sizes need to champion change.
‘I think this commitment will inspire lots of people to think about how the University – as an institution that leads the way on sustainability – can make a difference.
‘As a leading research university, we also have an important role in developing expertise.
‘From working on alternatives to plastics and helping improve waste management, we’ll be supporting the difficult challenges ahead to ensure plastics don’t end up in the natural environment.’
The 2023PlasticFree campaign will also profile the University’s research into the environmental, social and economic impacts and opportunities of plastics in materials and processes.
Examples of current research at the university include researching processes to produce the next generation of biodegradable bioplastics, predicting the flow and crystallisation of polymers in plastics to improve processing and recycling and increasing understanding of how after-use plastic is managed within cities to maximise circular economy potential.
Examples of recent initiatives at the University include a geochemical research laboratory in the School of Earth and Environment, which replaced its centrifuge tubes racks (which could not be recycled) with reusable equipment.
The University’s catering service, Great Food at Leeds, has saved more than 100,000 disposable cups being used in University cafes and restaurants by selling branded KeepCups, which come with a free hot drink and 20p off every subsequent purchase.
The bar at stage@leeds has also committed to being single-use plastic-free, with cups and glasses being replaced with vegware or paper, all recyclable and compostable.