Show us your mug competition!

Show Us Your Mug!The Department of Economics Green Impact Team are running a competition, open to all students and staff at the University. To enter, take a reusable mug to any cafe on campus, send us a photo of your hot drink, and you could win a prize.

The student prizes are:
Chilly’s water bottle
Mobile phone solar charger

We also have a staff prize:
Gardeners/allotment tool and tuck box

We have an additional prize, a selection of locally roasted coffee, for a photo of a Department of Economics reusable mug.


The deadline for entry is the end of Friday 15 June 2018. Send your photo to us at @uoyeconomical on Twitter or Instagram, #showusyourmug, or email

Winners will be announced on the Eco-nomical website and on twitter @uoyeconomical, on Monday 18 June 2018.

Why are we running this competition? Over 99% of all disposable coffee cups in the UK are not recycled, leading to about 2.5 billion coffee cups being thrown away every year. There has been discussion in parliament about the introduction of a ‘latte levy’, while major retailers have taken action in the last few months, by offering increased discounts, adding a surcharge on disposable cups or pledging to recycle coffee cups.

This fortnight, choose Fairtrade

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” Anna Lappé

Monday 26 February – Sunday 11 March 2018 is Fairtrade Fortnight. Whether you regularly buy fairtrade or have never given it much thought, perhaps now is a good time to consider why you buy what you buy.

Fairtrade accreditation allows farmers to improve working conditions and plan for the future by requiring companies to pay sustainable prices that never fall lower than the market price. In order to be certified Fairtrade, suppliers must meet internationally set standards  – currently 1.6 million farmers and workers are involved in Fairtrade around the world.  The Fairtrade Foundation  was first established in 1992, and the UK has one of the largest Fairtrade markets – for example, in Britain we buy over 80% of the global Fairtrade tea supply.

As well as the economic and social benefits, less well-known are the environmental requirements of Fairtrade: all certified organisations are required to protect their local environment by managing agrochemicals, avoiding genetically modified organisms (GMOs), reducing soil erosion and maintaining soil fertility.

So what can you do to support Fairtrade?

Buy Fairtrade on campus

  • All University restaurants and cafes sell Fairtrade options, including YUSU cafes and bars.
  • The YUSU Shop on campus west and both branches of NISA sell Fairtrade goods, such as tea, coffee, sugar and chocolate.
  • You can also buy Fairtrade at Scoop, the student-run cooperative shop based in Wentworth (open Wednesdays and Fridays).
  • Grumpy Mule coffee is Fairtrade certified and is available at Vanbrugh on campus west and the Hub Cafe on campus east.
  • Starbuck’s Espresso Roast coffee is Fairtrade certified (Costa coffee is Rainforest Alliance certified).

Try Fairtrade cafes and shops in town

  • York is a Fairtrade city and there are lots of shops and cafes selling Fairtrade items.
  • Now might be a good time to stock up on supplies, as some shops in York are offering discounts during Fairtrade Fortnight.
  • Fairtrade is more than coffee and bananas!  Many shops in York sell other options, such as wine, home furnishings, clothing, flowers and jewellery.

Take part in Fairtrade Fortnight events

Make your purchase (vote) count!


  • If you agree that spending money is casting a vote for the world you want, now is the time to talk to the shops, restaurants and cafes you like.
  • If shops or cafes do not, or no longer support Fairtrade, why not ask them to think again?
  • If you’ve bought Fairtrade, say thank you! Fair Trade York recommend emails or letters, so that you have the most chance of being heard by the person making the purchasing decisions – download a template letter here.







Find a Penny Pick it up…


Photo by Wang Xi on Unsplash

The World has a litter problem, the UK has a litter problem, the street you are walking down has a litter problem. But what can you do about it?

  • 9 billion tons of litter ends up in the ocean every year. It adds up to among the reasons why marine life is depleting;
  • $11.5 billion is spent every year to clean up litter;
  • 50% of littered items are cigarette butts.

Very simply pick up a piece of rubbish every day, and stick it in a bin, or better still a recycling bin if that’s appropriate.

It is easy to not see a problem when it stares you in the face day after day, and it’s easier still to think a problem is insurmountable or not worth starting on, but you can change this situation my making a one small change. Pick up a single bit of discarded litter every day.


Before long you may find yourself doing it more than once. You may find yourself actually actively trying to find something to pick up, if an area is well looked after. You may be seen by others who realise what you are doing and either do it too, or think twice about dropping litter themselves. Whatever, you are walking past a problem that you can fix with almost no effort. And who knows, your actions might just build into a wind of change, one that doesn’t empty your curbside recycling box down the road.

What’s SUP?


Photo by Mark Harpur on Unsplash  Check out the Surf:

No, not Stand Up Paddleboards, though Surfers Against Sewage do have a lot to say on this subject, but rather Single Use Plastics.

You are only going hear more and more about single use plastics in the coming months. It is already appearing all over the news, and rightly so, with lots of work being done by individual organisations, or whole countries.

But what can you do?

It’s really simple, just stop and think for a few seconds when you next pick something up to buy. Did you have an option? Is there an alternative to this product? Could I have better planned my day to avoid buying this particularly well wrapped item? Could I have brought my own bottle of water in a reusable container? Can I buy these apples weigh out in rather than in a plastic bag? Do I even like straws? Or plastic forks?

Rubbish already building up at UK recycling plants due to China import ban, Guardian 2 Jan 2018


Incidentally, Surfers Against Sewage are not all about surfing, or sewage, check them out and see some of the amazing work they do, and find out how you can help in your area.