Student - 8 oktober 2017

The plastic cup has a new rival

tekst:
Roelof Kleis
3

Plastic cups are used on campus in large numbers. The colourful KeepCup should change that. It will be presented at the Sustainability Market on Monday.

© Roelof Kleis

Lilo Trogisch is the initiator of the attack against the plastic cups. The German PhD candidate (Sociology of Development and Change) was startled when she arrived on campus last year. ‘Shocking’ is the word she used to describe the amount of plastic that is consumed daily in the cafeterias. ‘Especially the cups; they are all around campus. Each catering service has them. How can this be at a sustainable university like Wageningen?’

It did not take long for her to find a group of like-minded people to act upon this. Together, the group wants to start a revolution: the Reuse Revolution. That is also the name the group now goes by. Their first target: the plastic cup. That choice is nothing less than logical to Trogisch, as she already has experience on the matter. She has previously sounded the alarm to ban plastic at other institutions – and did that successfully.

Melbourne
Her first encounter with the KeepCup was while she studied in Sydney. The KeepCup is an Australian ‘invention’, with its roots in Melbourne. Trogisch was able to make the cup a hit on campus there. She did get help from the employees of the catering services, as they gave people a discount every time the cup was used in their machines. When she studied in London afterwards, she repeated the feat.

keepcup.jpg

And now, it’s Wageningen’s turn. But it still took quite some effort before people’s thoughts aligned. Trogisch sounded the alarm with Facilities and Services, but did not get any reaction. WUR did not want to act as a sponsor either. Even the shop in Forum was not interested in the gimmick. The breakthrough came when Trogisch and her revolutionaries were allowed to pitch before the joint catering services on campus three weeks ago.

Discount
‘They were extremely enthusiastic’, Trogisch remembers with some astonishment. ‘The catering services will tackle it together. They will make a joint purchase to spread the financial risk. They will sell the cup and give a 10-cent discount each time the cup is used in their machines.’ The coffee machines in Forum and some other buildings already give a 5-cent discount when one uses their own mug. That discount will be doubled. Posters will explain exactly how this all works.

A reusable cup is just a small step, but many small steps can make a big difference.
Lilo Trogisch

The KeepCup itself is made of … plastic. But it is recycled plastic, says Trogisch. The item consists of four coloured parts that you can easily trade with others. That way, you can personalise your cup. According to Trogisch, you can also ask for your preferred colours upon purchase. She thinks that this variety in colour options is one of the aspects that makes the cup so popular. According to the KeepCup website, over three million have already been sold in 32 countries worldwide.

Behavioural changes
Trogisch thinks the KeepCup is just the beginning. ‘For me, it really isn’t about the cup. You might just as well use your own cup. The aim of the Reuse Revolution is to initiate a behavioural change. The catering services are part of the solution, but what really needs to change are the people’s behavioural patterns. A reusable cup is just a small step, but many small steps can make a big difference.’

The KeepCup costs 9.95 euros and will be available starting Monday at the four catering services in Forum, Orion, the Restaurant of the Future and the Leeuwenborch.

Re:acties 3

  • Coffeelover

    The initiative itself is great, but: "The catering services will tackle it together. They will make a joint purchase to spread the financial risk. They will sell the cup and give a 10-cent discount each time the cup is used in their machines." And within a week increase the overall coffee price with the same 10 cts...

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  • AK

    Good initiative, good intention. But you might be making more carbon footprint, since everyone can just use bring their mug that they have at home, while now you're encouraging them to buy a new reusable plastic cup. Why not just bring your own mug then? Or am I missing a point here..?

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    • Cassandra

      Hi! I'm one of the members of Reuse Revolution. We definitely encourage people to bring any mugs/cups they already have. However, we are selling an option for students who want a sealed to-go cup but don't have one yet. Because we bought them in bulk, we're able to sell them at a discount compared to other retailers. We hope this makes them more accessible to more people! :)

Reacties 2

  • Sjors

    Great! Why did they this not earlier!

  • Agnes Pranindita

    Great initiative! I started my study at WUR a month ago and it was indeed surprising to see that for such a daily frequent thing to use at such a university known to be sustainability-driven, we use non-reusable plastic cups. Hope that this project of yours will change our bad habit in using plastic, Lilo!


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