Coffee and tea will now be discounted by 20c if you bring your own cup to any DCU café, due to a scheme implemented by Trispace Catering DCU and the Sustainability office.
The reduction, an increase from last semester’s discount of 10c, aims to promote sustainability and recycling in DCU.
Speaking to Samantha Fahy, sustainability officer in DCU, the campaign to discount cup uses has been implemented as 700,000 single-use coffee cups are used in DCU each year. “3,080 coffee cups are used each day in DCU, and this discount aims to help change habits of students”. The Sustainability office is promoting the use of reusable cups by also working with Trispace, the regional waste office, the SU and the USI.
“A promotional campaign will be launched by students where posters will be put up at each coffee station”.
Going forward, the sustainability office will argue whether to implement a levy rather than a discount. “As the plastic bag levy was an over-night success in Ireland, DCU would be ahead of everyone by piloting a single-use coffee cup levy”, according to Ms Fahy.
As two million single-use coffee cups a day are going to landfill, it takes just 15 coffees for a reusable KeepCup to break even with disposables.
There are also plans to “go green” on St. Patrick’s Day in DCU. Plastic cups beside water fountains on campus will be removed to reduce plastic waste and promote the use of reusable water bottles. Furthermore, the Student’s Union is planning to include a sustainability clause in their policy document and propose ethic and sustainable methods of consumption.
These actions by DCU come as Ireland is facing a huge problem regarding its waste. Single-use plastics, including disposable coffee cups, straws and takeaway packaging will be banned across the EU by 2030. Plastics make up 85 per cent of beach litter globally, with 5-13 million tonnes ending up in the ocean. There are concerns that plastics are being found in food and in 2017, it was revealed that plastics were found in Irish drinking water supplies.
The supermarket Iceland has decided to eliminate plastic packaging from its own-brand products by 2023. Replacing plastic with paper and pulp packaging will allow the packaging to be recyclable through domestic waste bins. “Plastic-free” aisles in supermarkets have also been petitioned for Ireland. However, there are still challenges regarding our recycling problem, including a lack of clarification regarding the correct recyclable materials, and contaminated items inserted into recyclable bins.
DCU’s KeepCups are available in the Student’s Union for a subsidised price of €6 and reusable water bottles are available for €5.
Image Credit: Daria Jonkisz