Chew fancy a cup of coffee? University of Winchester boosts recycling efforts with Gumdrop reusable cups
Reusable coffee cups - each one made from around 42 pieces of recycled chewing gum - are set to help to boost waste reduction and recycling efforts in an innovative new scheme launched at the University of Winchester.
3,000 Gumdrop cups - known as Gum-tec® Americano Mugs - have been given away to students and staff in a bid to reduce the number of disposable cups used on campus.
Last year, the University used almost 200,000 disposable cups which are not fully recyclable. Since November 2016, more than 13,000 disposable cups have been saved by reducing the price of hot and cold drinks bought on campus by 25p when purchased using a reusable cup. A surcharge of 25p is added on when drinks are purchased in a disposable cup. Around 30 drinks in every 100 are now served in reusable cups, up from just two in every 100 last year.
"Our new Gumdrop cups are a waste-free alternative to disposable cups. The recycled chewing gum in the cups accounts for 20 per cent of the cup: the rest is made from other recycled plastics," said Liz Harris, Environmental Projects Assistant at the University of Winchester (pictured above, far left).
"We encourage staff and students to use the Gumdrop chewing gum recycling bins around campus to help keep our campus clean and prevent gum ending up on the ground or in the general waste bin. Our recycling rate is now at 69 per cent, and the Gumdrop cups are expected to improve on that and make a huge difference on campus."
Chewing gum contains a high plastic content and takes up to five years to biodegrade. Gumdrop Ltd is the first company in the world to recycle and process chewing gum into a range of new plastic products, including cups and wellington boots.
The University is one of the lowest carbon university campuses in the country: since 2008, Winchester has reduced its emissions by 45.53 per cent. None of its waste goes to landfill: any waste that is not recyclable is sent to an energy from waste facility, food waste is sent for anaerobic digestion and waste cooking oil is turned into Bio-diesel.