Choose to Reuse (Cool Cup Project)

Vancouver

Choose to Reuse (Cool Cup Project)

Barriers and opportunities to reducing single-use cold cups in restaurants.

School:

UBC

Department:

Economics

Course:

ECON 339

Instructors:

  • Catherine Douglas

City of Vancouver:

  • Julie LeBlanc

Student Team:

  • Janet Chen
  • Victoria Kim
  • Camilo Mura
  • Nemo Anyudan Zhao

Strategy:

  • GCAP

City goal area:

  • Zero Waste

Summary

This project recommends solutions to overcome barriers that cafes and restaurants face in reducing the use of single-use cups for cold beverages, as per the City of Vancouver’s Reduction of Single-Use Items (SUI) Strategy.

The team helped inform the knowledge gap between the vendors of SUI cups and the City by reaching out to 8 cafes and restaurants, including 59 retail locations in British Columbia and Alberta. Vendors sold 2000 – 3000 disposable cups per year and participated in various sustainability promotions, including financial incentives with the use of a reusable mug. While this is encouraging, the team learned that vendors faced numerous barriers in their own sales and among customers including sanitation, increasing expenses, lack of composting infrastructures and difficulties in changing consumer behaviour.

Through the Choose to Reuse project, it is suggested the City of Vancouver increase convenience and efficiency of the current business systems set up by investing in more developed equipment. For example, more efficient ways to return mugs and receive your deposit, more streamlined and prompt ways to sort out recycling, and a greater focus on building up more trust between local businesses and customers

Choose to Reuse (Cool Cup Project)

Next Steps

As part of the public consultation stage in the implementation of the Single-Use Item policy, the team hopes its research results of barriers, opportunities, and concluding recommendations will support the City of Vancouver’s goal of becoming the greenest city in 2020. They will also share their results with the cafes and restaurants that we interviewed as well as the UBC MugShare program.