Organisation - July 3, 2014

Goodbye to plastic cups

Roelof Kleis

Wageningen UR is switching to paper coffee cups in the office. About 150 vending machines in Wageningen UR’s office buildings are due to be replaced by new Maas International vending machines in July.

The installation of the machines means an end to the white plastic cups. The new espresso machines serve the coffee in paper cups covered with a biodegradable coating of polylactic acid (PLA). 

This concept, known as cup2paper, comes from the waste processing company SITA and BioLogical Solutions, a manufacturer of paper cups. They claim that these paper cups have the lowest environmental impact of any disposable cup. The cups are CO2-neutral and the coating is made from maize that has not been genetically modified. Specially designed cardboard boxes will also be placed next to the vending machines for collecting and recycling the cups. But no coffee remains or apple cores are allowed in this waste stream. Users will be made aware of this through appropriate publicity, such as posters next to the vending machines and notices on the intranet. 

Office buildings

The new vending machines are only being installed in the office buildings. New Douwe Egberts machines were installed last week in the education buildings. These vending machines (which are not espresso appliances) use plastic cups. Apparently, paper cups are not an option in these ‘fast’ machines because they are more liable to get stuck in the machinery.