Coffee cup campaign

Keele University and Keele Students' Union have collaborated to launch a Coffee Cup Campaign that aims to reduce single-use coffee cup consumption across campus.

Over 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are used in the UK every year. Disposable cups are made from a combination of paper and a plastic lining to make them waterproof, but this mixed-materials product make coffee cups difficult to recycle, and infrastructure within the UK to recycle these cups is minimal. The plastic lids are also made from a type of plastic that is not collected as part of the University's waste and recycling service. Disposable coffee cups also require large amounts of water to process trees into paper, so as well as tackling plastic waste, switching to reusable cups can save water and reduce on carbon emissions produced from tranporting and disposing of single-use packaging!

By launching our 'Drink, Rinse, Repeat' coffee cup campaign, we aim to increase the number of students and staff who bring their own cups when buying a take-away coffee. To support the campaign, we've launched the sale of a Keele branded cup made from recycled rice husks and bio resin with a silicon lid and band. The cups are for sale from the SU shop, Costcutter, Chancellor's Bistro and Grab and Go, and David Weatherall coffee shop for £5 per cup. To support sustainability projects on campus, £1 from the sale of each cup will go to a sustainability fund, and neither the SU or University will make any profit from the sale of the cups. You can also still bring your own reusable cup if you already have one!

The second part of the 'Drink, Rinse, Repeat' campaign is the introduction of a 'Latte Levy', with drinks dispensed into takeaway cups incurring a 25p levy from Monday 19th November. The levies collected will fund further staff and student-led projects and initiatives through the sustainability fund.


The Drink, Rinse, Repeat campaign aims to reduce the use of single-use disposable coffee cups on campus. The campaign is a collaboration between the University and Students’ Union and is part of a pilot scheme being run by the NUS to reduce coffee cup consumption on campuses around the UK.

The campaign includes the introduction of Keele branded coffee cups, for sale in Costcutter, the SU shop, Chancellor’s Bistro and Grab and Go, Lindsay cafe bar and David Weatherall Cafe. The campaign will also introduce a 25p levy for drinks dispensed into a disposable cup.

Over 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are used in the UK every year. With a simple change to a reusable coffee cup, we can be part of reducing that number and reduce the use of single-use plastics on campus.

By introducing a 25p levy for hot drinks dispensed into disposable cups, we hope to contribute to cutting plastic consumption and promote reusable cup use on campus. The levy is for the cup, and does not reflect any change in price for the drinks themselves.

Disposable coffee cups are made from paper with a plastic lining, and infrastructure within the UK to recycle these cups is minimal. Moving away from disposable cups also saves trees which are processed into paper, water which is used in this processing, and carbon from transportation and disposal of the single-use cups.

The Keele cups are £5 each and at least £1 from each cup sold will go towards a sustainability fund that will support projects to make the campus greener. The University and Students’ Union will not make any profit from sale of the cups.

The cups are made from 80% recycled rice husk bound with a bioresin making up the remaining 20%. The rice husks are collected from mills and are processed and moulded into reusable cups. Unlike bamboo cups which are made from purpose-grown raw materials, the Eco-to-Go cup is made from waste material that would otherwise have been disposed of. Rice husk does not burn well and cannot be fed to cattle for example.

The lid and sleeve are made from silicon, which can be reused or recycled at end of use.

The 25p levy for drinks dispensed into disposable cups will be in place at at all University catering outlets, Costcutter (Campus) store and within the Students' Union.

The University is currently in discussion with vending machine providers regarding the use of reusable cups for dispensing hot drinks.

Costa is a private enterprise so are not part of the University/SU campaign and their reusable cup/discount scheme is not affected.

The Latte Levy from disposable cups will be collected into a sustainability fund to support environmental and social projects on campus.

Although there are compostable cups on the market, they cannot be composted in normal food waste composting facilities. These cups only compost fully in specialist industrial composting facilities which still require further investment in the UK. The campaign also wants to reduce overall disposable waste, rather than create a different type of disposable waste on campus.

Eco-to-Go cups will break down in 2-3 years in a standard composter, and if sent to an industrial composting plant, will break down in just 90 days.

Yes! Eco-to-Go cups are dishwasher and microwave safe.

Staff can rinse cups in the kitchens in their buildings and the kitchen in the Chapel can also be used to rinse cups. The Students’ Union is currently looking into an additional facility for students to rinse their cups. Unfortunately the catering outlets are unable to rinse cups for capacity reasons.

The previous discounts for using your own cup in the Students’ Union and University outlets will no longer apply. Research has shown that discounts do not successfully reduce single-use cup consumption as effectively as a levy so to have a greater impact, the discount will be removed but £1 from each cup sale and any 25p levies from disposable cups will fund social and environmental sustainability projects.

Of course! This campaign is about reducing the use of single-use cups, so although we’ve launched the Keele cup, if you already have a reusable cup, that’s perfectly fine too!