Students and staff learn about plastics reduction and reuse

May 15, 2024

Staff and students across XJTLU recognised Earth Week the last full week of April by finding ways to turn trash into treasure and learning about plastic pollution.

Environmentally aligned design

A creative design workshop hosted by XJTLU’s Sustainable Future Talents (SFT), an environmental student organisation at International Business School Suzhou, saw nearly 100 students transforming discarded plastic bags into new items.

The works included pillows, aprons, a tissue box and feminine care package, clothing, first aid kits, passport holders, and more.

Students make designs to reuse discarded plastic bags

The event – jointly organised by IBSS, the Department of Industrial Design and the MSc Cultural and Creative Industries programme at the Academy of Film and Creative Technology was part of SFT’s 15 Ways in 15 Weeks series – a semester-long initiative divided into weekly campaigns for sustainable and positive behavioural changes.

After a vote, the three most popular works were selected.

The purpose of the event was to draw attention to environmental issues, inspire others to protect the environment and advocate for a sustainable lifestyle.

Students and academic staff show off a creative design

All about plastics

Is plastic edible? How many plastic products are there in daily life?

Activities organised by Dr Xiaoying Pang answered those and many other questions.

Dr Pang led more than 30 academic staff and students in discussions and interactive games where they learned about plastic pollution and the basic science of plastics.

Dr Xiaoyang Pang discusses different types of plastic

Dr Pang said that the construction and optimisation of recycling and recycling systems are closely connected to the fields of mathematics and physics. For example, this knowledge is important in creating carbon emission reduction strategies and the algorithms used for taxi-hailing software.

Abylay Bissekenov, an XJTLU PhD student from Kazakhstan, said that while he was familiar with microplastics, he hadn’t heard of nanoplastics before. (Nanoplastics are extremely tiny particles of plastic found in soil, air, and water that can impact human health.)

Now that he has learned about them, he thinks they are likely already having a profound impact, he said.

Learning about plastics and their impact on climate change brought to mind related concerns in his home country, he added.

“At a time when global warming is causing frequent floods in Kazakhstan and Dubai, as a Kazakhstani, I think it is important to highlight the environmental issue of plastics,” he said.

The event included games to help participants learn about plastics and a recycled-plastic Plastic Heroes Auction, with moulds hand-painted by students. All proceeds from this auction will be used to reduce plastic and for environmental protection.

An auction raised funds to reduce plastic and for environmental protection


By IBSS and Qinru Liu
Edited by Tamara Kaup
Photos courtesy of IBSS and by Qinru Liu

May 15, 2024


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