< Research Reports

Coffee cups on campus

As part of our pilot project with Costa Coffee, designed to reduce the amount of coffee cups on campuses sent to landfill, we looked into current practices linked to the recycling of disposable cups.
student drinking a cup of coffee

37 respondents working in higher and further education institutions completed the survey. Of the 37 respondents, 33 work in a university, 2 work in a college and 2 work in a students’ union.  

The survey results showed:

  • Two respondents report that over a million disposable cups are used across university-run coffee outlets on campus. Most frequently, respondents reported between 300,001 and 400,000 disposable cups are used within university run coffee outlets. The majority of respondents did not know how many cups were used.
  • Offering money off the regular price for using a reusable cup is the most commonly reported method of tackling disposable cup waste, followed by adding an extra charge on top of the regular price for using a disposable cup.
  • The most commonly reported barriers experienced when tackling disposable cup waste through recycling include contamination of segregated collections and the costs associated with providing specialist bins for the recycling of disposable cups.
  • Two thirds of respondents are focused on tackling disposable cup waste through promoting reusable alternatives. A third of respondents say they are tackling waste through reuse and recycling.
  • Advice from respondents on implementing recycling of disposable cups included lessons on providing and managing segregated bins for collection of disposables, and highlighted the importance of communication and working with waste  contractors on the issue.


Coffee cup waste practices on campus - 2018