Our programmes and campaigns


NUS has launched #TheLastStraw – a campaign to stop the use of single-use plastic straws in our students’ unions and beyond and here’s how you can help make this #TheLastStraw…

You’ve probably already heard that many bars and restaurants are joining the global movement to eliminate plastic drinking straws from our landfills, streams, oceans and beaches. 

Straws suck

  • 500 million straws are used and discarded every day in the United States alone – that’s 175 billion a year filtering into landfills and littering our waterways and oceans
  • They are used for an average of 20 minutes, but their effect lasts a lifetime.  Extreme waste for minimal convenience!
  • Thousands of seabirds, marine mammals and sea turtles die every year when they ingest or get entangled in plastic pollution – 80% of which comes from the land!

How can you help?

  • Request ‘no straw’ when visiting bars and restaurants
  • Help us to spread the word by Liking or retweeting @NUSUK #TheLastStraw campaign posts or upload one of these graphics on your Twitter or Facebook using #TheLastStraw remembering to include this link to sign the pledge: https://tinyurl.com/ycuswznw (Welsh versions of the social media graphics are available to download here)
  • If you really can’t do without…there’s lots of compostable or reusable options on the market as an alternative to single-use plastic products.  Next time you go for a drink, why not use your own paper, glass, bamboo or stainless steel straw – there’s lots of choices available 
  • See if there are local environmental organisations that you can work in partnership with.  The Students' Union at Bournemouth University is a great example where a team of student volunteers (The Green Taskforce) and VP Education Alex Hancox, will be working with Litter Free Coast & Sea this year to lobby the 18 kiosks and food outlets on Bournemouth beach-front, to ask them to change their single use vending plastics.  We'll tell you more about this soon.
  • Sign the pledge to show you’re supporting #TheLastStraw

As students, you have the power to drive meaningful change. Phasing out single-use plastics – where possible – in our day-to-day lives by taking a zero-tolerance approach to items such as straws, plastic bottles and bags is the first step.

Click here to find out more from the sustainability team at NUS and to join our sustainability mailing list.  

Who has signed the pledge so far? 

762 individuals have signed the pledge so far including these students' unions and envrionmental organisations.  THANK YOU! 

What else is the world doing to clear up our oceans and coastlines? 

EU wants all plastic waste to be recyclable by 2030

It's the last straw for Costa

Water way to reduce plastic waste - Evian jumps on board

Has London got the bottle for water fountain rollout?

It's great news to hear that the UK Government has banned the use of microbeads in costmetic products from 1 January 2018 with Wales to follow shortly.  By 1 July 2018, all personal care and cosmetic products containing microbeads will be off the shelves in the UK and the US. 

The Evening Standard launched a new campaign to eradicate plastic straws from London's streets.  Read more here.

This year, NUS will be committing to using reusable cups as part of our coffee cups campaign. Following the news that only one in 400 cups are recylced in the UK - it's time to act!