More often than not, it is much easier to buy a hot beverage for the journey in a disposable container in today’s fast paced environment. You can take your coffee on your walk to work or school. You can take your coffee into the office, the classroom, study area, etc. but at what cost?
How many cups are disposed of each year, month, week, or even day? Too many! While they are made most frequently of paper and plastic, what is the energy expenditure needed to recycle these millions of cups?
While it is also easy to buy a canteen to carry around and fill at different coffee shops they can be bulky or easily forgotten in the rush to get going out the door in the morning. Having a reusable hot beverage container which is endorsed by stores and organizations will give extra meaning and increased remembrance for students and staff to bring their own container.
The portable reusable cups suggested are eco-certified and suitable for lighter travel and a cup on the go. Campaigns like this have taken off in North America and at a number of other Universities. If anything this will set a precedent for other UK Universities as students seek institutions with a higher environmental responsibility, thus improving the University image.
Recently at the University of York, this reusable mug campaign has been underway in order to reduce the amount of waste accumulated by disposable containers. The most recent efforts include a market survey in order to raise awareness to students, faculty, and staff of the campaign. So far we surveyed 292 members from the University through a series of questions based on their habits about drinking hot beverages. Here are some of the results:
The majority of those surveyed believe the cost of repurchasing disposable mugs is moderate, the amount of waste created by disposable mugs is significant, the cost of disposing waste is somewhat significant, and the overall carbon footprint because of disposable mugs is somewhat significant.
With this marketing survey well on the way, GreenSTEMS’ hot mug scheme has been conferring with members of the University to find a collaborative alternative to disposable mugs. As we work towards our goal we will have opportunities for others to get involved in which case you can contact GreenSTEMS or Heather Tanner (campaign leader) at ht752[at ]york.ac.uk. Skills you may learn are marketing, fundraising, problem solving, advertisement, etc.
– contributed by Heather Tanner