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Responding to the increased use of single-use coffee cups, a 'latte levy' and the world's plastic pollution problem hitting the headlines, two of our graduates implemented an easily replicable, profitable initiative that facilitated lasting behavioural change by temporarily rewarding rather than taxing tea and coffee drinkers.
Through a strong working relationship with our catering partners, and a shared goal of influencing behaviour, the 4-week Reusable Cup Race encouraged staff and students to act together by offering increasing discounts off hot drinks the more people ditched the disposable and started using crockery or reusable cups instead.
The result has been fantastic, with a sustained increase in the use of reusable cups, from a 6% average to an almost 12% average which has continued to date. Designed with simplicity in mind, this innovative approach will be periodically repeated, changing habits, cutting down on waste and saving money for consumers and the University.
Top 3 learnings:
1. Working together is key, the support of others ultimately led to our success.
2. Rewards rather than penalties help create a positive message to promote the need for change.
3. Repeated actions help change habits and achieve sustained behaviour change.
CO2t savings 2017/2018: 2.47 tCO2e (actual*, ytd figures – 01/08/17 to 31/05/18) with an anticipated saving of 3.41 tCO2e by the end of the academic year.
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for sustainability in post-16 education