Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) will stock bamboo toothbrushes in its shops after students voted online for the environmentally friendly products they would prefer to be sold.
In a Facebook post, TCDSU announced it would begin to stock bamboo toothbrushes in its shops in House Six and the Hamilton. The union also said it would look into “the possibility of stocking other popular products in the near future”.
Students were offered six options: bamboo toothbrushes, pasta and rice dispensers, safety razors, oat milk, shampoo bars and menstrual cups. Bamboo toothbrushes won 31 per cent of the vote, with pasta and rice dispensers and menstrual cups following closely behind, winning 21.5 per cent and 16.6 per cent of the vote respectively.
TCDSU ran the poll with One Step Closer, a company founded by Trinity graduate Joanna Mulkeen that aims to connect institutions and their members.
In TCDSU’s weekly email to all students, the union’s Communications Officer, Paraic McLean, said: “We have narrowed it down to six products, and we want you to decide which one you would like to see stocked in the SU Shop first! All these products will help you have a smaller environmental footprint and you can have your say by voting.”
The College has recently run other polls with One Step Closer as part of efforts to become more environmentally sustainable. In April, students and staff were asked what Trinity should prioritise as it aims to become plastic-free. Three choices were presented: replace disposable glasses with reusable ones in the Buttery, abolish all plastic cutlery from the Buttery or introduce paper straws in the Pav.
Speaking to The University Times at the time, Michelle Hallahan, the Provost’s Sustainability Advisor, said this polling initiative was simply about getting people’s opinions and views. College “wants to know if we’re doing something people don’t want”, she said.
When polled, students and staff opted for plastic cups to be phased out of the Buttery as the first target in the purge of single-use plastics on campus.
Provost Patrick Prendergast has, during his tenure, proved himself remarkably open to lobbying on environmental issues. Fossil Free TCD, which successfully pushed Trinity to divest from €6.1 million in fossil fuels, found a College more receptive than many other universities around the world that have faced similar campaigns, while Plastic-Free TCD, which began this year, quickly received support from Prendergast.