WINNER: University of Winchester
The University of Winchester tackled its consumption of single-use disposable cups by introducing a bold pricing structure for drinks, combined with a giveaway of university-branded reusable cups to students and staff. It believes it is the first institution in the higher education sector to implement such an initiative.
The introduction of a 25p surcharge resulted in more than 40,000 fewer disposable cups being used in just over a year. At the same time, sales of drinks in reusable cups leapt from three in every 100 drinks to 30.
Key to the initiative has been the collaboration between the in-house catering and environment teams.
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Winchester was confident that switching to a 25p surcharge on drinks purchased in disposable cups would lead to a bigger reduction in disposables because people would want to actively avoid paying an overt tax.
The environment team also gave away 6,500 reusable Gum-tec Americano mugs during two week-long giveaway events in the spring and autumn of 2017. These were publicised across campus, the university’s intranet and social media.
The Gum-tec mugs contain around 20% recycled chewing gum, which was collected on campus in Gumdrop recycling bins, mixed with other recycled plastics. They are branded with the university and student union logos and the environment team’s ‘Your Campus Your Planet’ slogan.
JUDGES’ COMMENT: “This was ahead of the curve. It showed outstanding supporting evidence and produced results. This is something every university could do.”
In the year to 6 November 2017, Winchester used 34,065 fewer disposable cups; by 31 December 2017, this figure had reached 41,267, avoiding around 570kg of disposable cup waste.
Sales in reusable cups averaged 30% throughout 2017, demonstrating that a financial penalty rather than an incentive (discount on recyclable cups) has been key to producing meaningful behaviour change. Data showed it was only after the first Gum-tec mug giveaway that reusable drinks sales tipped over the threshold of 30%, showing this was a key part of the success.
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- City of Cardiff Council
- East Riding of Yorkshire Council
- Essex County Council
- Hampshire County Council
- South Staffordshire Council
- Surrey County Council/ Surrey Waste Partnership
- Torfaen County Borough Council