Coffee drinkers: Reusable cups are always half full
Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 00:03
A reusable cup program, recently implemented at Dividend$ and Bell Tower, gives students, staff and faculty the opportunity to save in a lot of ways.
The Miami University community consumes a lot of coffee, according to Jon Brubacher, manager of purchasing and operation analysis. In 2012, the Miami community consumed 12,735 pounds, which produced a lot of trash.
According to Brubacher, approximately 280,200 coffee cups are used every year.
Bell Tower and Dividend$ implemented a plan Feb. 4 to reduce this coffee byproduct. Students, staff and faculty can now bring their own thermos to these locations to fill up with coffee or tea instead of the paper cups provided.
According to Yvette Kline, director of sustainability and energy conservation, the system is user-friendly.
“Users only need to pick up a free key fob from the cashiers of these locations first so they can be charged for their coffee,” Kline said.
This pilot program has been a part of the campus-wide effort to make Miami more environmentally friendly.
“This and other ideas stem from the Sustainability Commitment and Goals program,” Kline said. “Developed by Miami’s Sustainability Committee and signed into action by President David Hodge in April of 2011.”
The reusable cup program offers coffee and tea drinkers the chance to get more bang for their buck, according to Brubacher.
“Users will be charged $2.19, the average price between small, medium and large sizes,” Brubacher said.
Yet, this price is applicable to any size thermos, within reason, noted Kline. Users will pay the average price but can get a lot more coffee.
Even with this revamped system, the response has been slow. As of March 5, only around 100 transactions had taken place, Brubacher said, but the leaders of this program remain optimistic.
“My vision is that this will be permanent,” Kline said. “It has worked successfully in retail and can work here. Coffee retailers like Starbucks use similar programs and have had success.”
According to Brubacher, the reusable coffee program could replace all coffee cups at Miami.
While the leaders of the program are optimistic, they understand the program needs more work.
Kline sees this program as an opportunity to save both the university and Miami’s coffee drinkers money while being environmentally progressive, but admitted the program would need more time and attention.
Even though it has been in place since Feb. 5, many students are still unaware of the program. Junior Josh Harpest is one of those students.
“The program makes sense… It saves in multiple ways,” Harpest said. “But I was unaware of anything like this existing.”
According to Nancy Heidtman, senior director of dining and culinary support services and member of the sustainability committee, the reusable cups are currently only offered at Bell Tower and Dividend$ because they are better fitted for the program.
“They have equipment that lends itself to the program,” Heidtman said, referring to the pump coffee containers at these locations.
Heidtman, Burbacher and Kline all noted this is only a pilot program. They are using it to see what works and what steps will take them in the right direction.