Zero Waste Week and sustainability at the university

September 2nd, 2022

Zero Waste Week is a national campaign that runs from Monday 5 –  Friday 9 September 2022.  It aims to help everyone reduce waste and participate in the circular economy.

We have four easy ways to help you ditch disposables at the university, lessen your environmental impact and save some money too. And it all starts with the four R’s: Reuse, Refill, Recycle and… Rewards…?

Reuse – Latte Levy

Did you know that you can pay 40p less for a drink bought on campus when you use a reusable cup?

The Latte Levy is in place across the university’s catering outlets. The aim is to encourage customers to use their own reusable cups rather than using a disposable one.

It’s simple:

  • Bring your own cup get a 20p discount.
  • Use a disposable cup and you’ll be charged an additional 20p on top of the drink price.

SU outlets (e.g. Portland Coffee) and Costa etc have their own schemes.

During August, 2,860 drinks were sold in reusable cups in university catering outlets alone. Not using disposable cups has saved 9.44kg of plastic ending up in the bin and prevented 105kg CO2e entering the atmosphere. Not to mention saving customers more than £1,100!

Currently, around 15% of drinks on campus are bought in reusable cups. That’s good but it’s not enough. Help us to improve by using your own cups and save yourself some money while you’re at it.

94% of you have previously said you’d commit to using reusable cups. So make that change and make a difference today. If you don’t already have one, you can buy a reusable cup from many outlets across all campuses.

Proceeds from the Latte Levy are reinvested in our Environmental Initiatives Fund to help reduce waste further and to set up other sustainability initiatives. For example, funding the replacement of disposables with crockery at some food outlets.

Refill – Water Fountains

We now have 53 water refill points across our campuses that you can use rather than buying a bottle of water. This includes eight new bottle filling stations which not only look good, but tell you how many plastic bottles they have saved as you use them.

So far, over 450 plastic bottles have been saved through the use of the George Green Library fountain. And it was only installed at the end of July!

See a map of all the water fountains. New ones are coming soon to the Trent Building on UP, The Atrium on Jubilee, QMC and various points across Sutton Bonington campus.

There are also plans to install filtered drinking water taps in various staff kitchens to further reduce the use and impact of single-use plastic.

Recycle – pens and writing instruments

As of earlier this year, pens and other writing instruments can now be recycled on campus. Pen recycling points are available in all libraries on UP and other locations across our campuses, with more coming soon. The pens go to a local school who raise money for charity by recycling them.

Find out more

Rewards – Green Rewards

Sign up to Green Rewards and you can get rewarded for completing these actions and more. There are over 25 activities on Green Rewards to help you reduce waste but also save energy, travel more sustainably, and do your bit to help nature thrive. Each month there are 10 x £20 vouchers given away to those who earn the most Green Points. Plus the best performing team each quarter nominates a charity to receive £250.

Sign up before Friday 7 October and you’ll be entered in a prize draw to win a £25 White Rose voucher.

For more ideas on how to cut the waste out of your life, visit

Go! Your sustainable choices matter.

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