Pushing for sustainability, campus coffee shops to launch reusable cup giveaway

Pushing for sustainability, campus coffee shops to launch reusable cup giveaway 

CoGro, The Tea Room releasing HuskeeCups on Feb. 5.
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Common Ground, The Brew and The Tea Room will be giving away reusable cups to students on Feb. 5 as part of a new collaborative initiative to reduce single-use waste.
 
By collaborating with Common Ground, The Tea Room, Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change (QBACC), and HuskeeCup, a company that makes reusable mugs, the services will launch the CupSwap program to reduce disposable cup waste on campus.
 
When she discovered Common Ground Coffee had produced 180,000 disposable cups in the last academic year alone, Purchasing and Catering Manager Ellie Maclennan, (ArtSci ’19), thought it was time to find a better solution. 
 
“We knew we needed to do something to tackle this problem because we’re just one of the cafés on campus,” Maclennan said in an interview with The Journal.
 
In the beginning of the year, Maclennan said Cogro decided to do a cup giveaway to tackle the disposable cup problem. “We give out reusable cups to try to reduce barriers for students to access reusables,” she said. 
 
After meeting up with different clubs on campus, Maclennan said Common Ground launched the program and gave away 1,000 cups in October. The coffee store also offered discounts to people who brought the reusable cup from home.
 
While the giveaway received a positive response, Maclennan said the number of disposable cups didn’t drop. Instead, students don’t keep up with the habit of using the reusable cup, she said. 
 
“We didn’t see those habits continuing, especially during exam season when students are [busier],” she said.
 
After much deliberation, Common Ground reached out to The Tea Room, a campus café run by the Engineering Society, to conduct the cup swap program. HuskeeCups are non-toxic reusable coffee cups made from coffee husks. 
 
“HuskeeSwap is essentially like a lifelong subscription,” Gretha Conrad (ArtSci ’19), head manager for Common Ground said. “When someone purchases one mug, they can always bring it back to all the participating locations to get a new mug every single time they get a new coffee.” 
 
During the launch on Feb. 5, both Common Ground and The Tea Room will be giving out free coffee for participants with HuskeeCups. According to Conrad, people can still purchase HuskeeCups after the giveaway. 
 
Maggie Williams (ArtSci ’21), vice-president of QBACC, told The Journal the club had a set budget to support their campaign on plastic waste reduction on campus. After consulting with different clubs and services on campus, they eventually reached out to Common Ground to further assist the Cup Swap Program. 
 
“What we ended up doing is helping fund a sort of bursary program so that the first launch that we have, we’ll be able to give out a large amount of them for free for students,” Williams said. 
 
“We’re really hoping to encourage students to participate and essentially buy into this program for free so that they’re enrolled for life,” Conrad said. 
 
According to Maclennan, there are participating cafes all over the world. “If you were to go to Ottawa, you could bring your cup to any of the participating cafes and get a new one there,” she said. 
 
However, both Common Ground and The Tea Room will be the first coffee shops in Kingston to be using HuskeeCups, she added. 
 
“I guess down the road, we’re really hoping to see this program to expand on campus.” 
 

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