Bath Spa University launches returnable cups scheme

Bath Spa University in the UK has launched a new returnable cup scheme in five outlets across three of their campuses in an effort to help tackle the 55,000 single-use coffee cups currently served up to students and staff. The University is teaming up with environmental behaviour change specialists, City to Sea, who ran a successful city-wide returnable cup scheme across the whole of Bristol earlier this year.

The “Refill Return Cup” will operate through the award-winning Refill app meaning that coffee drinkers won’t need to leave any deposit at the point of purchase or worry about carrying their own reusable coffee cup. Instead, they can pick one up at the point of sale and then return the cup to any of the five outlets across the Bath Spa estate.

Currently, more than 2.5 billion takeaway coffee cups are used and thrown away each year in the UK. That’s 10,000 cups every two minutes. City to Sea estimates that if the Refill Return Cup was used once a week by one in ten students or staff at Bath Spa University, then over 70,000 single-use cups would be saved in a year.

Bath Spa University already offers a 30p discount on hot drinks to those who bring their own reusable coffee cup and sells its reusable cups at cost price. While reusable cups are slowly growing in popularity, they require the customer to remember to take it with them.

Professor Sue Rigby, the vice-chancellor of Bath Spa University welcomed the initiative, saying:

“As a university we’re committed to eliminating all single-use plastics from our campuses, and by now offering reuseable coffee cups, this is another important step towards this

“Our vision is a not just campuses free from single-use plastic, but one where Bath Spa University plays a leading role in bringing about local and regional awareness of this problem, and all of us playing a part in bringing about habitual change which helps the environment.”

Harriet Bosnell, City to Sea’s CEO, added:

“I want to raise a returnable cup to Bath Spa University which is leading the way in environmentalism by working with us to tackle one of the biggest single-use challenges we face.

“Single-use coffee cups are not just an ugly blight on our beautiful countryside but also break down into microplastics causing havoc to our ecosystems.

“Even cups that look and feel like paper can have a plastic lining which breaks down causing harm to wildlife and entering our food system.”

Rachel Roberts, catering and hospitality manager at Bath Spa University, commented:

“Having the Refill Return Cup on campus represents a significant step in our commitment to sustainability.

“This isn’t just about coffee cups, but about the wider question of how we tread more lightly by using our resources sustainably.

“It’s great to have an affordable and easy option for students to drink their hot drinks in a returnable cup.”

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