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GSD students launch reusable cup sharing system on campus

On Monday 24 February 2020, Warwick Cup launched its reusable cup sharing system at Curiositea, one of the food and drink outlets on campus. The launch was a great opportunity to celebrate the hard work put into this project by the students involved and to find out more about the initiative.

Warwick Cup has been founded by final year Politics, International Studies (PAIS) and GSD students Hollie Ryan and Maddie Booth, and final year Economic Studies and GSD student Ellie Church. The inspiration for the project came from their time at Monash University, where they had the chance to see how an idea like this would work across campus.

“When I studied at Monash University in my second year, we had an introductory week where I came across 'Borrow Cup' a free re-usable cup sharing system which cuts down on waste from campus coffee shops. The project was a student-led enterprise, supported by the University and its sustainability team. This was a great opportunity to get involved with something that I was passionate about and that was related to GSD.”

Hollie Ryan | Final year PAIS and GSD student

GSD students Ellie Church and Maddie Booth serving drinks at the launch of Warwick Cup in Curiositea

L-R: GSD students Ellie Church, Tom Ovenden (second-year Single Honours GSD student) and Maddie Booth at the launch of Warwick Cup in Curiositea

Warwick Cup follows a simple, three-step process. You borrow a cup for free, use it around campus and then return it to a collection point as soon as you're finished. The process is backed by a team of volunteers who collect the cups and clean them. There are currently six collection points across campus for you to drop off your cup:

  • The Library (Ground Floor)
  • Inside the Oculus
  • Outside the Students Union (between Curiositea and the Learning Grid)
  • Outside the Ramphal Building
  • Right side of Engineering
  • Bus Interchange

The cups themselves are made by Bockatech (Corretto EcoCore Cups) and use 95% less CO2 than plastic-lined paper and compostable cups in relation to their whole life cycle. The project hopes to encourage behaviour change and make a real difference to dependency on single-use cups on campus.

Hearing from the co-founders, just getting to the launch of Warwick Cup has been a journey itself, "from funding issues to rival schemes" (The Boar). From this experience, Maddie shares that the most important lesson she's learned: "not being afraid of taking risks, trying things that haven't really been tried before and working your hardest to prove that they can work".

Looking forward, it'll be interesting to see if sustainable sharing systems like Warwick Cup will work beyond campus. This is exactly the question that final-year student Hollie is currently looking into for her dissertation.

“I've been able to use my experience of Borrow Cup at Monash University and Warwick Cup on campus as inspiration for my dissertation, which looks into the potential of reusable cup sharing systems in different environments and how these operate differently, to see if this is something that could be implemented on a wider scale”.

Since the launch, the Lord Rootes Fund Committee has agreed to support the project with an award of £2,500.

The Lord Rootes Fund is intended to encourage creativity, innovation and impact through support of projects by individual and groups of Warwick students, especially projects that:

  • Demonstrate innovative and creative thinking
  • Encourage personal development and challenge in pursuit of an idea or objective
  • Create new enterprises, cultural initiatives and/or social impact

If you'd like to find out more about the initiative, have a read of the interview with the co-founders by final year PAIS and GSD student Lucy Page, featured in The Boar.

Warwick Cup collection points map