De Montfort University aims to give free reusable cups to students
By Conor de Smith
De Montfort University is aiming to give students a free, sustainable cup to reduce the amount of plastic used on campus.
The Leicester-based university said it already recycles 90 per cent of its waste and is intending to eliminate the use of plastic bottles in its food outlets.
DMU wishes to distribute 25,000 reusable coffee cups at the start of the next academic year at an estimated cost of between £70,000 and £80,000.
Students will be given 22,000 of these cups with the other 3,000 going to staff. Using them will result in a 20p reduction in the cost of hot drinks at all restaurants and coffee outlets on campus.
Discussions with catering partner Chartwells are ongoing to ensure these cups are also on sale for around £3 or £4 and that crockery alternatives will be available if people forget their cups.
The university is also exploring the possibility of importing hygienic water fountains from Japan to use across campus to allow students to fill containers or simply have a drink.
A formal announcement regarding the initiative, the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, is expected to take place on 6 June at a United Nations conference in New York.
Vice-Chancellor Dominic Shellard said: “We have to start somewhere and I just feel that it’s incumbent now on any individual who is concerned about the future of our planet to make some small change which is cognising with some of the things we’re doing.
“It’s not too late but it’s getting pretty late. How will this reduce the excessive figure of disposable plastics? In a very small way but I think every action counts.”
An estimated total of 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away each year in the UK and MPs recently called for a 25p tax on every one used.