A trial 20p levy is being brought into force on disposable coffee cups sold around the University and SU this week after 750,000 were sold across campus last year.
Around one million hot drinks are sold across the 13 University-owned ‘Hustle and Bustle’ outlets every year, including the IC Cafe and Diamond Cafe, and between August 2017 and July this year 749,960 disposable coffee cups passed through.
The University says it’s working hard to reduce the carbon footprint of its coffee supply chain, launching a Sustainability Strategy to make the institution more green.
The levy will apply throughout ‘Sustainability Week’, running from October 15 to October 19.
Mel Kee, Sheffield SU’s Development Officer, said: “As a society we need to move away from our current throwaway culture and coffee is a great example of this.
“The levy is about making staff and students aware of the impact of their everyday practices, and pushing towards use of reusables over single-use.”
But at the Information Commons cafe, customers who ‘drink in’ rather than buy take away hot drinks are still served their brew in a single-use disposable cup, an issue to which senior managers reacted with surprise when Forge Press informed them.
The University has set out the supply chain on its website, including ‘Our Cow Molly’ milk four miles from campus, and Roastology coffee, supplied from the heights of Columbia and roasted in Sheffield.
It’s in an effort to encourage more to buy a reusable cup or join the Campus Cup deposit scheme, seeing students and staff place a £5 deposit to get their hot drink in a reusable cup.
Introduced earlier this year, the return system was the first on a UK university campus and sees those involved get a 20p discount. and then receive their full deposit upon returning the cup to any campus cafe without needing to wash it.
The week will also feature a five-day programme of talks ranging from a series of ‘Sustainability in the Pub’ events at the University Arms, to researchers discussing the sustainability of Sheffield as a city.
Professor Duncan Cameron, who is leading the Sustainability Strategy, said: “Our work with both Our Cow Molly and Roastology has enabled us to collapse our coffee supply chain, ensuring we know where each element of the cups of coffee we sell on comes from.”