Text: Teresia Sandberg
This blog is fueled by caffeine …
Way back when I was a university student I consumed copious amounts of coffee. On the way to class I filled up on coffee, on the way to the next class I made sure to get a refill. Over my years at university I probably drank at least two cups a day or about 2000 coffees over 5 years! I’m not proud, but the majority of those coffees were in paper cups with plastic lids. That’s a lot of wasted resources and it came just from me.
On any given day there are close to 12,000 students and 4,000 employees at KTH main campus. Even if only half of those people drank coffee on campus that means that the cafés and restaurants are brewing and serving thousands of cups of coffee every day. If served in “to-go” cups that adds up to a whole lot of trash. To tackle KTH’s caffeine fueled trash problem and to help make sustainability a natural part of everyday life for all students and employees, reusable thermos-cups called Green Cups were introduced for sale at selected cafés and restaurants on KTH Campus. By using Green Cups we can greatly reduce the amount of disposable paper cups. A Green Cup costs 49 – 59 SEK and entitles its user to reduced prices on refills at participating cafés on campus. We estimate that we can save about 260,000 paper cups and plastic lids under one year or the equivalent of 3 tons of waste and 60 tons of CO2. Since October 2014 we have sold over 1,500 Green Cups and these have been used for coffee refills over 18,000 times.
Because almost everyone drinks coffee, this project has made a noticeable impact on KTH Campus! Another bonus has been the enthusiasm we’ve received from our students. One group of students is conducting a lifecycle analysis on the cup and others have written blogs. Johanna Gruszka cited Green Cups as one of her “Eight must-haves” at KTH. Anne Marie Girtz introduced her audience to the art of the Swedish “fika” and Green Cups. Daniel Dbida wrote about the launch of Green Cups on campus and the benefits of using a thermos-cup.