Disposable cup charge raised from 25p to 30p on campus

To encourage more students and staff to use reusable cups, University and Students' Association cafés will raise the charge on disposable cups from 25p to 30p in August and September 2019.

The University has a vision to be zero waste, and one of the simplest ways staff and students can help is to always carry and use a reusable cup. I welcome the joint decision by University and Students' Association cafés to increase the charge on disposable cups as it will encourage even more people to ditch disposables and use resuables.

Kate FitzpatrickUniversity Waste Manager
Reusable cups

A disposable cup charge was first implemented in academic year 2018/19 and has led to an average reduction in disposable cup usage of 37% in University-owned cafés (rising to 46% in 2019/20). 

University-owned cafés will begin charging customers 30p to purchase a disposable cup on 1 August 2019, with Students' Association cafés following suit on 1 September 2019. The Department for Social Responsibility & Sustainability and Waste Office welcome this decision which will encourage more of the University community to carry and use a reusable cup, reducing unnecessary waste.

Income from the charge is used to improve services operated by the University's Accommodation, Catering & Events department and the Students' Association.

Effectiveness of disposable cup charge in 2018/19

Campus cafés first implemented a 25p charge for the purchase of disposable cups in August & September 2018, replacing the previous pricing structure where customers were given a 20p discount for using a reusable cup. Known in popular culture as a 'latte levy', charging for disposable cups has proven to be more effective in encouraging customers to use reusable cups than discounting hot drinks purchased in reusables.

Disposable cup usage data 2018-19 in University-owned cafés
Month % disposable cup usage compared to same month in previous year
2018: August -45%
September -40%
October -35%
November -37%
December -40%
2019: January -32%
February -33%
March -29%
April -43%
May -48%
June -37%
July -30%
Year average  -37%


Reduce, reuse recycle

Knowing how to reduce waste, reuse items and recycle can be confusing. We've produced simple guides to help students and staff be more resource efficient.

Top tips for students   Top tips for staff