Plastic Free LSE

Without significant action, there may be more plastic than fish in the ocean, by weight, by 2050.
The New Plastics Economy — Rethinking the future of plastics, p.29.

The campaign to cut single-use plastics at LSE. Will you be part of it?

The issue

In 2017, Blue Planet 2 brought distressing images of marine wildlife tangled up in plastic to our living rooms. It was time to take action and LSE began by LSE Catering and LSESU removing plastic drinking straws from their outlets.

But more can be done.

The opportunity

Tackling this global problem is an exciting opportunity! Although plastic is currently part of our daily lives each one of us, every day, can choose to be part of the solution through simple actions.

Imagine if, tomorrow, everyone decided to never use a disposable coffee cup again and instead use their reusable mug? That would save 3billion being thrown away in the UK over the next year!

As a collective of individuals focusing on the same end goal, our actions can have a big impact.

The focus

Plastic Free LSE focuses on four single-use plastics:

 Disposable plastic water bottles

Single-use plastic cups

Disposable coffee cups

Plastic disposable cutlery

These are commonly used yet often easily avoidable products! Through focused actions we can have a large collective impact. 

The campaign

Officially launched in October 2018, the campaign will run throughout the year engaging LSE staff and students and implementing changes around the School to support more sustainable behaviours. 

An important aspect of the campaign is raising awareness about the complexity of plastics. There is wide debate on the role plastic food wrap plays to prevent food waste. Also important is considering the life cycle of alternative plastic products and particularly their disposal - can they be disposed of sustainably with the existing national waste infrastructure? These are important considerations to ensure that the plastic-free alternative really is a more sustainable choice. 

Plastic Free LSE aims to:

- Support staff and student-led initiatives and projects to enable inividual action and learning.

- Encourage individuals to reduce usage of single-use plastics and show easy, more sustainable alternatives.

- Create discussion and raise awareness about the complexity of plastics.

- Reduce the number of disposable coffee cups sold, single-use water bottles bought, and plastic disposable cutlery and water cups used around LSE.

Get Involved

  • An LSE staff member ready to join the action?
    • Join or start a Green Impact team in your office! Whilst Green Impact is now in its 10th year, this year it is focusing on plastics supporting teams to take impactful actions around their offices and deliver exciting plastic-focused projects. 
  • LSE student keen to get involved?
    • The Plastic Free LSE Student Working Group meets to discuss and organise projects that students want to do on this topic. 
  • Sign up to our fortnightly sustainability newsletter, Green Flash, for latest updates and opportunities. 
  • LSE staff or student with an idea for an event or initiative, or some feedback? External to LSE but keen to support our campaign? We're keen to hear. Contact with your ideas. 

Start today

1. Give up bottled water. Carry a reusable water bottle around and have unlimited, free refills from any of the 66 water fountains around LSE!


2. Switch from a disposable coffee cup to a reusable mug. Earn yourself a discount each time you buy a hot drink by using a reusable mug. LSE branded Keep Cups available from LSE Catering outlets.


3. Stop using plastic cutlery each time you have lunch out. Take along your own reusable cutlery or why not eat in and use stainless steel? 


4. Make food shopping stylish with a reusable tote bag. Leave the plastic carrier bags in the store and carry with you your own reusable cloth bag. Buy an LSE branded one from the LSESU shop.

Already taken these steps and keen to take it further? Here's 96 more ideas to reduce your plastic waste! Get in touch to share your actions with us via email, using our Twitter handle @SustainableLSE and include the campaign name, #PlasticFreeLSE!



Use the links below to understand why this issue affects us all.

There are many people taking action into their own hands, from living zero waste lives to joining beach clean-ups. Here are a small few:

  1. The Weekly Shop. LSE Alumni and staff member Diana Szpotowicz recently launched The Weekly Shop, the first zero waste shop in the UK to donate 10% of profits to fund environmental and development projects worldwide.
  2. Plastic Patrol. 'A nationwide campaign to rid our inland waterways of plastic pollution'. Plastic Patrol hosts a series of clean-up events 
  3. #WheresMyWaterFountain? A campaign to get water fountains installed in train stations and airports.