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Ditch the Disposables

Approximately 4,500 reusable cups have been distributed to incoming first year students
during orientation in a further bid to emphasise UCC’s commitment to having an
environmental friendly campus.
In recent times, certain measures have been implemented in order to encourage students
and staff alike to be more prudent when it comes to their attitude towards disposable cups.
Discounts have been made available to those who bring their own cup into the college and
subsequently use it instead of those that are made available. From the start of the 17/18
academic year a new rule was introduced, banning the entry of any disposable cups into the
Boole library. In order to help with the transition, a limited number of bamboo cups were
made available, as well as travel mugs with UCC logos being made available for sale in the
student centre.
However, a significant step has been made in making reusable mugs more widely available
with this dispersal to first year students. The inspiration for the action came as a result of a
collaboration between Cork City Council, UCC and the Southern Region Waste Management
Office.
A huge reason behind the idea came directly as a result of an approach made by UCC’s
Student’s Union to Cork City Council last year. Following on from a meeting between the
two parties, the Southern Region Waste Management Office (SRWMO) were made aware of
the Student’s Union’s request of making reusable mugs more readily available. With the aim
of receiving a grant for €10,000, a pilot scheme was launched to determine the desires of
those at UCC. As a result, a survey was conducted with some 1,200 students at UCC, where
they trialled three separate travel cups. Of the three that were tested it was found that the
bamboo travel mug was the most popular for students and this is what 4,500 new first year
students to the college will find in their fresher bags.
According to SRWMO, some 200 million cups are disposed of in Ireland every year and in
response to the measures adopted, Cork City Council’s Mary Walsh was warmed to see how
UCC were fighting and encouraging for reusable cups and mugs to be the norm.
In response to all of this, the Chairperson of the UCC Green’s Society, Niamh O’Reilly said,
“It’s great to see the college continue its excellent track record when it comes to the
environment. Not only will this lead to students taking more personal responsibility,
environmentally speaking, but UCC students are the business leaders, the politicians, the
activists of tomorrow, so something so ‘small’ as giving every fresher a cup could lead to
serious societal changes in time.”