News from the UC Sustainability Office

Making the transition to re-usable cups at UC

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As you probably know by now, single-use coffee cups cannot be recycled anymore, only the lids. Last month, as part of our campaign to reduce the use of single-use takeaway cups and to bring attention to correct recycling practices, the Sustainability Office ran a stall in the Undercroft. We offered reusable cups for just $5 and sold more than 70 over the three days we ran the stall. This surpassed our expectations! Many people seem to be keen on making a difference by reducing the amount of waste they create.

If you missed out on purchasing a reusable cup, you can still buy them from the Sustainability Office for just $5. Contact for more details, and for information on UCs recycling practices, have a look here.

We also conducted a small scale audit of a landfill and recycling bin station, and found that in the main the campus community is doing a great job of placing single-use takeaway cups in the landfill bin. However, the majority of these cups still had plastic lids on them and these lids can still be recycled. Approximately a quarter of a million single-use takeaway cups are sold on campus every year – that’s a lot of recyclable plastic that can be diverted from the landfill. So if you do purchase single-use takeaway cups, take a moment to separate the lid from the cup, and put the lid in the recycling bin and the cup in the landfill bin.

Did you know ….

  • The length of 250 000 single use cups placed end on end is 30 km, which is the equivalent of walking around Hagley Park six times!
  • Campus cafes offer a discount every time you bring in your reusable cup? You can earn your cup back in no time
  • Reusable cups can be washed and dried in the heat-and-eat areas around campus, look for the (HE) sign on the map below. As more buildings open, more heat-and-eat areas will open on campus, making it even easier for you to keep your cup clean!

Heat and Eat areas at UC


Author: Puck Algera - UC Sustainability Office

Puck worked at the Sustainability Office at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. As the Sustainability Projects Coordinator, she kept busy with student and staff engagement, providing strategic input and advice and organising sustainability-focused events.

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