Non disposable cup on some stairs

The latest sustainability campaign to be launched at the University of York will see them remove disposable plastic-lined cups from four catering outlets across their campus.

This step will see each outlet replace disposable coffee cups with reusable cups and crockery, with the aim of encouraging more staff and students to bring their own cups or join the YORCUP scheme. 

Every year an estimated 2.5bn disposable coffee cups are used in the UK each year, with the majority ending up in landfill, contributing to the disastrous impact that plastics have on the environment

In 2018 the University issued 380,000 single-use coffee cups. Following a year of work and sustainability projects from the University of York, YCL Commercial Services and YUSU Commercial Services, in 2019 this number was reduced by nearly 75,000 to 307,500. This latest announcement marks the next step in their campaign to eliminate single-use plastics from the campus.

Jo Hossell, engagement officer at the University of York, said: “The university has taken some major steps to improve its sustainability practices and is now working to develop a long term Sustainability Strategy to build on this progress. 

“YORCUP is a brilliant initiative for engaging our staff and students in how their actions can contribute to these goals, in this case by reducing waste.  The reduction in waste from people's use of YORCUPS illustrates how small steps can collectively make a huge impact.”

The removal of disposable coffee cups will initially be launched for a trial period in four outlets across the university campus. Customers wanting to take away hot drinks will need to either provide their own mugs, sign up to the YORCUP scheme or ‘drink in’ with crockery.

This step follows the incredibly successful launch of the YORCUP scheme in January 2019, which saw thousands of staff and students ditch disposable cups in favour of reusable options.

Thanks to YORCUPS, in just seven months the university saved over 72,300 single-use cups from going to landfill with 3,330 people joining the scheme.

Jon Greenwood, director of Commercial Services, explained how the scheme came about: “Following the incredible response to YORCUP, we knew that our customers were keen for us to push even further and focus on sustainability. We’re excited to hear their thoughts and responses to the trial, and we’re always looking for even more ways we can improve our services.”

The trial will run from 2 January to 31 July 2020, after which the university will enter a consultation period and make a decision on whether to roll out the scheme to every catering outlet on campus. 

Alongside the focus on disposable cups, the Commercial Services team has also been working hard to replace plastic drinks bottles with recyclable canned options, and plan to completely remove plastic bottles from catering outlets within the next six months.

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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