Link to BYOM cafe audit full report
As a part of UC Berkeley’s holistic goal of achieving Zero Waste by 2020, the Bring Your Own Mug (BYOM) campaign is working to reduce the amount of single-use, disposable coffee cups from the campus waste stream. BYOM’s strategy is to facilitate the adoption of stainless steel reusable Klean Kanteens to as many students and faculty as possible. These canteens are durable, high-quality thermoses that keep beverages hot or cold for 6-8 hours. Through promotional events and educational outreach, BYOM’s ultimate goal is to instill a BYOM culture on campus and convince campus cafes to provide better monetary incentives for students who purchase beverages with reusable canteens.
Over the past year, BYOM has worked to put BYOM Kanteens in the hands of students on campus in order to formulate this culture of bringing your own mug. In order to assess the success of this culture, BYOM asked TGIF Program Associates to perform audits in various campus area cafes. TGIF Associates recorded the types of cups that each beverage purchase was delivered in, especially looking out for customers putting BYOM canteens to use.
Although BYOM Kanteens have been spotted around campus, the TGIF Associates did not record the use of any during the auditing times at the various locations. The vast majority of customers still purchased beverages in disposable to-go cups, and TGIF Associates noted that nearly all the observed cafes neglected to offer their beverages in ‘for-here’ mugs or cups to the customers.
Judging from the lack of sightings of BYOM Kanteens and an underwhelming minority of customers who purchased coffee in their own mugs or thermoses, it is clear the BYOM campaign still has much work to do. BYOM has been working to convince cafe owners that it is worth stocking and selling BYOM canteens, and the TGIF Associates’ observations confirm this claim. The TGIF Associates made some general suggestions to increase the success of the BYOM campaign in campus cafes, including: instituting substantial discounts for customers who use BYOM canteens, taxing to-go cup purchases, encouraging customers to drink beverages in ‘for-here’ cups, and creating signage in cafes that advertises the price differences between purchases made in BYOM canteens or to-go cups.
In the hopes of implementing similar strategies, BYOM is partnering with ReUSE in the 2013 TGIF Grant, Refills Not Landfills. With successful coordination between the grant, cafe owners, and cafe employees, this grant will likely bring BYOM’s wish of decreasing the sale of to-go cups closer to fruition.
For more information about the TGIF Associates’ audit, including raw data and written testimonies, follow this link to the full report.
- by Kareem Hammoud, TGIF Program Associate