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UF earns top honors in Kill the Cup Challenge

Published: December 9th, 2015

Category: News, Waste

KTC Campaign saves 267,000 cups from landfill, awards social impact grants to six winning teams

SAN DIEGO, December 9, 2015 – Kill The Cup today announced the winners of the 2015 University Challenge, a nationwide campaign that encourages students, staff, and faculty across the country to reduce waste from disposable coffee cups. Greeks Going Green, the student team from University of Florida, headlined the list of winners that will receive social impact grants to fund sustainability projects on campus.

Competing schools were ranked based on metrics for Waste Reduction and Social Awareness. Kill The Cup measures Waste Reduction by the percentage of drinks served in reusable cups at participating coffee shops. Between the Oct. 5 kickoff and the final day of competition on Nov. 13, the 16 participating universities combined for a 6.2% reusable rate. University of Florida (29.3%) and University of Washington (27.1%) finished 1st and 2nd to receive grants in the amount of $1,000 and $500, respectively.

The rate of coffee cup reuse has been a point of interest for many national coffee retailers, most notably Starbucks. According to their website, the Seattle-based company has a 2015 goal of achieving a 5 percent reuse rate. The reported figure from 2014 was 1.8 percent, unchanged from the 1.8 percent that was reported in 2013.

Comparing the 6.2% reusable rate achieved during the University Challenge with the national baseline of 1.8% established by Starbucks, the nationwide Kill The Cup campaign saved over 267,000 disposable coffee cups from being used. This is the equivalent of 4,232 pounds of landfill waste, 66,910 gallons of water, and 33 tons of CO2 emissions associated with the manufacturing process.

“We have come a long way since the 15,000 cups we saved in 2014,” said Drew Beal, Chief Environmental Optimist of Kill The Cup. “The impact we are able to create is all thanks to our passionate student ambassadors, who are driving environmental behavior change in their campus communities.”

During the University Challenge, students, staff, and faculty uploaded coffee selfies with their reusable cups to become eligible to win gift cards and other prizes. The Social Awareness portion of the competition is measured by the percentage of the campus population that participates in the campaign by uploading a photo on the Kill The Cup mobile app. Over the course of the six-week campaign, 900 students uploaded 2,435 coffee selfies on the app, with countless more being shared on social media.

Schools were grouped into divisions of four based on their total enrollment. The winning schools from each division were University of Illinois, Boston University, Loyola University Chicago, and Humboldt State University. Each division winner received a $500 social impact grant to fund a sustainability project on campus.

For more information, please visit: www.KillTheCup.org.

The participating 16 universities provided a balanced national geographical campaign footprint:

  • Boston University
  • California State University San Marcos
  • Columbia University
  • Humboldt State University
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Miami University (Ohio)
  • Penn State University
  • The George Washington University
  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Richmond
  • University of Washington
  • Villanova University

About Kill The Cup
Kill The Cup is a project of Social Ventures for Sustainability, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that partners with campuses and communities to encourage environmentally responsible consumer behavior. Kill The Cup’s campaigns reduce waste from disposable cups, educate consumers on sustainability, and improve performance of partner organizations.

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