Students at the University of Connecticut can receive a discount when buying coffee or other similar beverages from university-run cafes if they bring their own mug.
“We definitely encourage people to bring in travel mugs and help us reduce our footprint on the environment,” Ethan Haggerty, the area manager for Retail Operations at UConn, said.
If students bring their own mug to any of the university-run cafes (Bookworms, the Beanery, the Union Café, Wilbur’s, Lu’s, Up and Atom and the Chem Café as well as a location at UConn law school) their refill of coffee, hot chocolate, tea or another similar beverage will only cost $1.20.
“We are happy to refill mugs,” Haggerty said.
In 2016, 31,000 people took advantage of this discount, Haggerty said.
The Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts locations on campus offer similar discounts, Haggerty said.
Starbucks will give customers 10 percent off the price of their drink and Dunkin will only charge for a small if one brings his/her own mug.
The discount at the university cafes is approximately 40 percent off.
“We’re offering a substantially bigger break than Dunkin or Starbucks,” Haggerty said.
Haggerty said that this program has been going on for approximately 15 years.
Haggerty said that there had been efforts to produce mugs with the EcoHouse learning community in previous years.
“In the past, we partnered with EcoHouse to put out water bottles and coffee mugs,” Haggerty said, “It’s just not something we’re doing anymore.”
The project was not very practical because so many students already had their own mugs, Haggerty said.
“There’s such a big market out there for travel mugs that it wasn’t worth doing after a while,” Haggerty said.
Haggerty said that he is looking into offering a similar discount for espresso drinks.
“I’m looking into that and figuring out how to add that so that should be happening very soon,” Haggerty said.
The reason espresso is currently not included in the refill offer because it costs more, Haggerty said.
“The espresso is the excluded item because it’s a more expensive product,” Haggerty said.
The refill system is part of a larger goal of making the campus more environmentally-conscious, Haggerty said.
“We want to reduce our impact on the environment,” Haggerty said. “We do a lot of things as far as sourcing sustainable paper products.”
All hot cups at UConn are composed entirely of renewable resources made by the World Art company.
“As far as the cups we definitely go through a lot, there are a lot of people on campus,” Haggerty said.
Dining Services is constantly reevaluating how it can use more sustainable products, Haggerty said.
“With our university contract, we have to look at our paper goods every few years and that’s a time when we want to make sure we’re with the most current trend in the market,” Haggerty said. “If there’s a better product that comes out in a couple of years we wouldn’t stick with this.”
Dining Services is constantly striving to do the best job it possibly can as far as sustainability efforts, Haggerty said.
“We’re constantly looking and reevaluating the products we use and trying to make sure we’re doing our best job,” Haggerty said.