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Waste-free & Safe: The Cup Deposit Project

by Lauren Anderson, 2020 Acara Fellow

Imagine being able to safely grab coffee or tea on the go while supporting local businesses during the pandemic and beyond. All without creating waste… 

Luckily, the Cup Deposit Project helps facilitate just that! 

Last spring, I became an Acara Fellow with the intention of piloting a Cup Deposit program on campus. While the timing wasn’t quite right then, I am excited to announce we are moving forward with a pilot program and then, fingers crossed,  an official launch for the Cup Deposit Project! 

Here’s a step-by-step of how we’re hoping Cup Deposit will work:

  1. Visit your favorite participating cafe
  2. Order your drink in a deposit cup
  3. Enjoy your drink
  4. Return your deposit cup to any participating cafe on campus
  5. Receive your deposit back in full

Our goal is to make this no-waste option easy and accessible for everyone on campus.

With so many life-disrupting changes already occurring, perhaps this is a perfect time to implement a new system—one that is safe, sustainable and helps support local businesses. In order to facilitate this project, I am very excited to announce that the Cup Deposit Project will be partnering with the Acara Changemakers, the Acara-associated student group on campus. 

I am currently studying in Germany, and, since arriving in September, I have spoken with and witnessed similar cup deposit programs that have been able to remain in use in the midst of COVID-19 guidelines. Learning how these programs ensure the safety of both café employees and participants has been especially helpful. Using strategy based on proven techniques and a running dialogue with participating café staff, I believe we can implement a cup deposit program on campus both safely and sustainably. 

During my time as an Acara Fellow, I have learned that no idea is unrealistic if you have leaders and coaches to assist in its development. I am incredibly thankful for this lesson. While COVID-19 has caused unexpected delays, it has also provided the time to create new partnerships and develop a more “pandemic proof” plan. 

Keep a look out for future project developments—hopefully we can share a coffee cheers soon!

 

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