University of Chester


Ready, Reset, Reuse, Go!

This project was kick-started by learning that around 2.5 billion disposable cups are used each year and only one in 400 are recycled. It looked for a solution to the use of disposable plastic cups and focused on the cognitive dissonance between customers' behaviours and their beliefs when it came to sustainability.

Over the last five years, we have implemented several strategies to try and reduce disposable cup usage. Our efforts did not have the desired result but gave us vital experience for this project. As reusable cups became more common and, with the COVID-19 pandemic giving us the necessary reset button, we used the knowledge and data from our previous attempts at reducing disposable cups to implement a drop-and-swap scheme that has transformed behavioural norms concerning disposable plastic cups and removed SUPCs completely across the University.

This has set us apart from other institutions who moved away from sustainability measures during the pandemic.

Annual carbon savings achieved with the initiative:
CO2t savings 2021/2022: 8.02 Tonnes CO2 (Estimated).  


Top 3 Learnings

  1. Operational change leads to behavioural change.
  2. It is possible to remove disposable cups from the waste stream completely.
  3. For reuse to become the social norm, ease and accessibility needs to be essential.
9 - Industry Innovation and Infrastructure 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production 14 - Life Below Water
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