Conservation coasters

Our new plastic pollution art competition is open to all ARU students.

Why plastic?

Every piece of plastic ever made still exists today. It is our human legacy. It is estimated that between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tonnes of plastic is washed into the oceans annually, and worryingly, this amount is predicted to increase ten-fold by 2025, and will not reach its peak before 2100.

In the oceans, very large items of plastic, such as fishing gear, continue to fish (ie ghost-fishing), trapping and killing large animals, from turtles to seals to birds. Packaging items such as plastic bags, bottles and take-away containers are being eaten by turtles, seabirds and whales. Furthermore, micro- and nanoplastic particles are mistaken for food by a myriad of organisms from zooplankton to whales, and have been shown to cause harm when ingested. Plastic also contaminates grasslands, forests and rivers; it is a global problem that, as humans, we all contribute to and all have the power to solve.

If we want to reduce plastic pollution we need to raise awareness by engaging a wide range of audiences. This is where YOU come in.

The Global Sustainability Institute and the Department of Biology are running a competition, open to all ARU students, funded by the Be the Change grant called Conservation Coasters.

The competition

Visually depict, using any media (eg drawings, paintings or photos), the problem of plastic pollution and suggest simple ways in which people can help reduce emissions of plastic into natural habitats (see example below).


The top six shortlisted entries will be printed as coasters and will be distributed at ARU cafes and also at The Tram Depot next to Anglia Ruskin's Cambridge campus on East Street. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners will also receive a gift voucher for a sustainable clothing shop to the value of £75, £50 or £25.

There will be a small prize-giving ceremony/mixer event at the end of semester 2 where the winning entries will be showcased.

Coasters will be printed using vegetable-based inks manufactured using renewable resources and recycled cardboard.

How to enter

  1. Your entry can be black and white or colour and must fit onto 10cm x 10cm template.
  2. In your email write your sustainable plastics message in no more than 20 words.
  3. Simply email your entry with your student ID as the subject to

Deadline for entries

29 March 2018 at 5pm.


Example of coasters for coaster competition