A sign for “sustainable choices that benefit the planet” is strategically placed near Café Roy’s cash register. Next to the sign are two metal Bon Appétit reusable cups that are for sale.
These cups are advertised on the sign to “save students money” and “help the Earth,” and Café Roy isn’t the only place on or near campus that offers discounts when customers bring a reusable cup.
Junior Will Jacobs is a project manager of DePauw’s Sustainability and Leadership Program’s (SLP) zero-waste project. Jacobs said students who drink one beverage from a café on campus every day roughly use over 200 cups per year.
“Think about how many people you know also drink coffee in single-use cups,” Jacobs said. “One person buying one reusable cup makes a great difference to keep cups out of our landfill. The same thing goes for party cups.”
The initial price of the Bon Appétit reusable mug is $5.99 (which can be charged on flex dollars) and can be used at both Café Roy and Café Allegro. Roasters drip coffee is $1.25 with the Bon Appétit mug or your own similar-sized cup. This saves students 50 cents per cup of coffee. Tea drinkers only need to pay the price of the tea packet.
Specialty drinks also receive a 10% discount when purchased with a Bon Appétit mug.
It’s not only Bon Appétit who is pushing for reusable mugs. Starbucks also offers customers a ten-cent discount to those who bring their own reusable mugs.
Senior Emma Wittkowski is a member of SLP and a campus farm intern. During her first year of college, Wittkowski decided that she wanted to stop eating mass-produced meat and become a vegetarian. This decision led her to examine her other lifestyle choices.
“I became educated on how the meat industry is horrible to the planet and how it contributes to climate change,” Wittkowski said. “And with that, I just became more educated on other human practices that negatively impact the environment.” One of the other lifestyle changes Wittkowski made was using a reusable cup.
According to Jacobs, there are other ways for students to lower their waste on campus. One easy way to start is by looking at your plate.
He said, “Take only as much food as you will eat and don’t be afraid to get a second plate if still hungry.”
Wittkowski said using a reusable cup as opposed to a single-use cup is “a very easy way” to reduce waste on and off campus. For many students, this may be as simple as looking in their kitchen for a reusable mug they already own.
“A majority of people own a reusable tumbler or mug, so it is accessible to a lot of people,” Wittkowski said. “And you get a discount when you use it at a [campus] café and Starbucks. So, it’s sustainable and it saves you money.”