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Warwick Cup Launches Reusable Cup Scheme

Happy Green Week, everyone! Today we’re celebrating the newly launched Warwick Cup, a reusable cup scheme founded by Hollie Ryan, Maddie Booth, and Ellie Church. Warwick Enterprise have supported this project with an award of £500 through the Student Enterprise Fund, and we’re so proud to have helped these students turn their idea into a reality on campus. In the article below, Innovation Fellow Giacomo Bottoli reports on the Warwick Cup launch event.

We encourage all students to look out for opportunities to bring about positive change, at Warwick and beyond. We’re always keen to support our innovative students and graduates wherever possible, through funding and mentorship. If you’d like to follow in Warwick Cup’s footsteps, but don’t have an idea yet (or need support with idea development), why not register to attend our DBACE Ideas Generation Workshop on Tuesday 10th March 2020, 1-3pm, Humanities building?

Warwick Cup is a student-led social enterprise which aims to reduce the waste produced by single-use cups through a reusable cup-sharing system on campus. This initiative was founded by Hollie Ryan, Maddie Booth, and Ellie Church, all of whom are studying Global Sustainable Development at Warwick. The project was launched at Curiositea on Monday 24th February 2020. 

Throughout the world, single-use cups are a huge sustainability challenge. As reported by the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee, ‘2.5 billion coffee cups are used and thrown away each year in the UK - enough to stretch around the world roughly five and a half times - but less than 1 in 400 - just 0.25% - are recycled. According to the Warwick Boar, in their incisive interview with the Warwick Cup founders,750,000 single-use cups are piling up at Warwick each year.   

Warwick Cup believes that this problem cannot be solved by replacing traditional single-use cups with plastic-lined paper and compostable cups since these solutions contaminate the recycling system and emit more methane than a plastic cup once disposed in landfills.   

Drawing on its founders’ experience working in the highly successful Monash BorrowCup scheme, Warwick Cup has found a way to tackle the single-use waste problem at its root. The Corretto EcoCore Cups used by Warwick Cup (supplied by Bockatech) produce 96% less CO2 compared to plastic-lined paper and compostable cups in relation to their whole life cycle (bpf.co.uk, 2020).  

The Warwick Cup scheme can easily be summed up by their slogan, ‘Borrow. Use. Return.’ But in more detail, this is how it works:  

  • The customer is served a drink in a free Warwick Cup (currently only available at Curiositea, but launching in Library Cafe soon as well). 
  • Having finished their drink, the customer returns the cup to one of six collection points located around campus.
  • In the evening, volunteers collect the returned cups and wash them using a rigorous process. Once dry, the cups are returned to the cafés, ready to be re-used the following day.

The Warwick Cup team have done incredibly well to get so many different stakeholders on board, with support coming from Warwick Retail, Warwick Conferences, Warwick Enterprise, and of course Curiositea. Also present at the launch were Marta Guerriero, Jessica Savage, and Jess Holt (from the Global Sustainable Development department), David Chapman (Warwick Sustainability Champion), Ben Newsham (SU President), and Milly Last (SU Democracy and Development Officer). Alongside the big turnout of team-members and other supportive students, this shows how much buy-in Warwick Cup already has from a wide range of people.

Warwick Enterprise congratulates Warwick Cup for its progress and looks forward to supporting this cause, as well as many other student-led sustainability projects. We believe in students as change-makers, and we support them in their journeys! 

Read the Global Sustainable Development department's article on the launch.