At this time of year, a hot beverage is one of life’s simple pleasures. That ritual is even more satisfying if it’s done sustainably.
I’m proud that the UBC Vancouver community is making a change this month: reducing the use of disposable coffee cups and plastic food ware. We’re encouraging students, faculty and staff to choose reusable mugs, water bottles and cutlery instead. Single-use hot-beverage cups at UBC food and beverage outlets will cost at least 25¢.
The move is part of UBC’s Zero Waste Food Ware Strategy, aimed at keeping as many single-use coffee cups, plastic straws, bags and cutlery out of landfills and the environment as possible.
The UBC Vancouver community rallied for a change on campus. In 2018, a student-led petition gathered over 4,000 signatures calling for a campus-wide ban on single-use plastics.
At UBC Okanagan, plastic cutlery and straws have been replaced with paper straws and wooden cutlery, and the Green2Go program is helping reduce the use of single-use takeout containers. This September, the Okanagan campus will also introduce a reusable mug program to reduce the use of disposable coffee cups.
Creating sustainable solutions for the planet is also a strategic priority for the university. As a long-standing leader in global sustainability, UBC is leading the region in reducing single-use items.
To meet UBC’s target of a 50 per cent reduction in single-use coffee cups by 2021, I urge you to bring a reusable mug to UBC food and beverage outlets. Or, consider enjoying your hot beverage in a mug “for here”—sit down and enjoy the ritual when you can.
You’ll notice as well that retailers at UBC are now offering smarter, more sustainable materials for single-use items. They’ve discontinued certain items, such as foam cups and plastic bags. Straws will still be available for accessibility purposes.
I encourage you to bring your own reusable cutlery for meals. Single-use wooden cutlery is now available only on request.
It’s heartening to see the UBC community choose to reuse. Together, we can make an impact far beyond our community.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor