University of Birmingham

UoB’s aim was to reduce the amount of single use food takeout boxes and disposable hot drink cups, with a view to becoming waste free in these areas. They have introduced Eco to Go Cups and Eco to go Boxes to overcome the issues to takeaway packagaing. 

Eco to go Cups

UoB introduced the Eco to go Cup which is made from Rice husk, a bio degradable source which can be composted and used as fertiliser. The cups are sold at cost price at £3.50 and offer a free drink with the initial purchase of the cup. Menu boards advertise hot drinks without the price of a disposable and charge 10 pence for every hot drink taken in a disposable cup.

In the first 3 months UoB completely sold out of the 5000 cups bought, with 35,083 purchases being made using a resuable cup which is a total of 33% of hot drink takeout in reusable cups. 

Eco to go Box

The boxes are made from sturdy, recyclable polypropylene and can be reused extensively. Students and staff purchase Eco box for £4 and are responsible for cleaning and returning the box to the food outlets. A free meal is offered if the student chooses to hand the box back to the university at the end of the year.

In the first year, 135,625 disposable containers were replaced with reusables which saved £17,404 as initially £21,000 was being spent on single use containers whereas only £4,000 was spent on 1008 Eco to go Boxes.

Key takeaways;

  • 33% of hot drink takeouts are now in reusable to go cups
  • A charge of 10p is added to purchases if using a disposable cup
  • £17,404 has been saved by introducing reusable takeaway containers