The Glasgow University Climate Action (GUCA) group recently petitioned for the University of Glasgow’s Hospitality Services to replace their non-recyclable orange paper cups with cups that were compostable. The petition garnered 153 signatures.
The group wanted to involve other students in their campaign to replace non-recyclable materials in all Glasgow University cafes with compostable materials. GUCA also called for more visible food bins around campus and a separate charge for buying cups. They hope that this will help the University to improve upon its recent rating in the Sustainable Restaurant Awards, where it achieved one star out of a possible three.
A representative of the Hospitality Services recently informed the group that were already beginning to phase out the orange cups, which cannot currently be recycled as they are made from “contaminated cardboard”. The orange cups are being replaced by Frugal Pac cups which are a new fully recyclable cup “made from recycled paper board without any added chemicals”.
Nonetheless, the group felt their protest had been successful and resonated well with students as the “vast majority” of those they spoke to choose to sign their petition.
A spokesperson for the group said: “We engaged with a lot of students who were not aware that the current orange cups were non-recyclable so we successfully raised awareness of this and students were very responsive in signing the petition for a more environmentally friendly alternative.”
Whilst the group warmly welcomed the changes that the University have already put in place, they would like to see more done. A GUCA spokesperson said: “We hope the University will respond further in the near future in regards to them also being strongly committed to reducing waste and further encouraging students to use their own cup.”
In their petition, Climate Action requested that there be separate displaying of prices for coffee and for cups so that consumers could see what they were paying for cups. They argue that this could encourage students to bring their own cups rather than purchasing one every time they order a hot beverage. GUCA suggests that this charge on cups, similar to the 5p bag charge recently put in place by the UK government, would further increase awareness of the waste being caused by these disposable cups and would encourage students to bring their own cups.