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Union To Be Pushed On Balloon Ban

Balloons are used by the Students' Union for a variety of events such as balls and elections. Source: torange.biz

By Gareth Axenderrie

Nia Jones, who was elected as one of the union’s campaign officers in March, has submitted the idea of a ban to the union’s website, with fifty ‘upvotes’ needed for it to reach the student senate.

The idea is currently around halfway to gaining the required number of votes, with a deadline of Monday, October 8. This comes just ahead of the first senate meeting scheduled for Tuesday, November 13.

The move by Jones is part of a wider drive to cut down on plastic waste within the union and university as part of her role. Last year the 20-year-old co-founded ‘No Straw Stand’, a campaign to cut the number of single-use plastic straws in circulation in Cardiff.

Balloons are used in the union for events like balls, elections and during freshers’ fairs.

Jones told Gair Rhydd: “Balloons are a plastic pollutant and is a common item found on beach cleans throughout the country. They are single use, and even if disposed of properly in the bin, they aren’t recycled.”

Cardiff Council does not currently recycle balloons, and despite ‘biodegradable balloons’ appearing on the market, concerns remain that such products don’t actually degrade under regular conditions.

Products labelled, as ‘biodegradable’ often need intense heat and pressure to break down, conditions which are unfortunately not found in the ocean or in landfill.

Jones continued: “One of my main aims this year is to reduce single use plastic across the campus – and campaigns that seem relatively small like this and aim to raise awareness is the best way to get people used to the idea of reducing their single use plastic consumption in small, easy steps.”

“If anyone feels strongly about other parts of plastic pollution they are welcome to submit their own idea and we can work to reduce the SU’s plastic footprint even further.

“Students have a hugely powerful voice regarding influencing the Union & University and really listen when students are passionate about a topic.

“I encourage all students to use their voice about topics they care about – whether it be through Twitter, Facebook, email, or in person. If you are a bit stuck on how to get your idea and opinion out there – get in touch with your elected officers, we are more than happy to help.”

To vote on this idea, visit https://www.cardiffstudents.com/ideas/?idea=6.

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