Uni of York scheme ‘YORCUP’ has saved over a million single use plastic cups from going to landfill

The scheme allows customers to buy a reusable cup for £5 whilst getting their first drink free

The University of York’s scheme “YORCUP” has saved 1,108,329 cups from going to landfill in the last three years.

The cup scheme allows customers to purchase a reusable cup for £5 whilst getting their first drink free.

The initiative was launched after the catering and hospitality team calculated that more than 500,000 single-use plastic cups had been used in their outlets in 2018.

Customers can then hand their used cups back to any university outlet or deposit them in YORCUP drop-off bins around campus after use. If they retain the green sleeve and show it the next time they wish to purchase a drink, they can get a clean cup and avoid the latte levy, which is the 20p charge for a single-use plastic cup.

The success of the university’s prior “Bring Your Own Cup” scheme, which offered customers who bought their own cup a discount, set a favourable precedent. In January 2019, YORCUP was introduced in collaboration with the Student Union and colleagues in commercial services.

A total of 6,493 YORCUPS have been purchased to date, and the latte levy has raised £54,328. The university is reinvesting these funds back into sustainable initiatives on campus and in the local community, such as the installation of single-use plastic cup recycling bins on campus, donating food to local food banks, and gifting money to a local “pay as you go” café.

Jo Hossell, Sustainability and Inclusivity Engagement office at the University of York said: “YORCUP is a well-designed solution to a common waste problem; it is easy to adopt, it benefits the users and it has clear benefits for sustainability. It has been good to see staff and students taking ownership of the scheme and citing it as an example of what they do to be more sustainable.”

Patrick O’Donnell, President of The University of York Student Union, added: “The success of the YorCup scheme shows that both students and staff care deeply about our environment, both locally and nationally, and about making a difference. The widespread take-up and adoption of the scheme, across both University and YUSU outlets, shows that it’s easy to play your part in making our University a more sustainable community.”

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