Help make it one less cup
It is estimated that UOW disposes of approximately 2,357,000 disposable cups annually (based on waste audit data conducted in 2014). That is a huge amount of waste generated from something that is only used for 5 minutes. Disposable coffee cups are not recyclable and therefore contribute significantly to the amount of waste sent to landfill.
There are a number of different disposable cups used on campus and some have a better environmental footprint than others. However, the best option that has the least environmental footprint is to avoid single- use cups and use a reusable cup instead.
- Biodegradable cups are able to be composted so are a better environmental option than other disposable cups. However, they still need to be placed in the mixed waste bin as there currently are no composting facilities at UOW.
- Disposable paper cups are made from paper but are coated in a polyethylene lining to make it waterproof. These cups cannot be recycled due to that plastic coating and should be placed in the mixed waste bins. Since they can't be recycled these cups contribute to landfill.
- Disposable coffee cups or takeaway food packaging made from polystyrene or styrofoam cannot be recycled so contribute to landfill. Polystyrene or styrofoam also doesn't really break down completely. It does breakdown into smaller bits but that's about all. These small pieces have been found to cause problems in our marine environment by being ingested by animals.
Using a reusable cup is this better for the environment but there are other benefits too:
- All coffee outlets on campus are BYO (bring your own) cup friendly
- Many outlets on campus offer a discount when you bring a reusable cup
- Some also sell BYO cups for you to reuse.
- There are plenty of kitchenettes around campus where you can clean your cup.
Download the Factsheet -Help make it one less cup (pdf) for details.
Environment Unit have been using Keep Cups in our various environmental campaigns and we have given away thousands to staff and students at UOW. From time to time throughout the year the Environment Unit will make them available as prizes and giveaways for various environmental campaigns.
It is easy to make a difference, use a reusable cup and encourage others to do the same.