In the city of Vancouver, 2.6 million single-use cups are thrown out each week. These cups end up in the landfill, in the streets, and even in our oceans, making up 22% of all litter. Single-use items like this cost the city $2.5 million of taxpayer’s money annually to collect. They’re also full of chemicals like BPAs, phthalates, and PFOAs, which can be harmful to both the environment and our health.
Starting back in 2016, a group of sustainability-minded students from Common Energy at the coffee-fuelled University of British Columbia decided that enough was enough. Single-use cups were everywhere—in our classrooms, in our bins, and even in our dreams. We tried our best to use our own reusable mugs, but we lost them, or forgot them, or used them last week and we just really weren’t in the mindset to deal with that week-old latte residue.
This revelation led to a number of innovative solutions to create a mug sharing program that solved the issues we faced, while at the same time being convenient, accessible, and effective. Through collaboration and a number of successes and failures (don’t ask about the vending machine!), a system was refined and piloted at cafes across the University of British Columbia in early 2019. By providing reusable mugs and breaking down the barriers associated with them, mugshare aims to create a simple, easy-to-use system that makes reusable the new normal.
The results? Well, consider this an open invitation to come watch mugshare grow and expand with us!
*Stats from the City of Vancouver’s Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy. It’s a great read!