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Monday, October 18, 2021

Students packing their backpacks for Library West might want to include a coffee mug.

Throughout October, UF’s Greeks Going Green and the Office of Sustainability will encourage students to bring a reusable cup to Starbucks as part of the national Kill the Cup Campaign. Students who use their own mug at the Library West Starbucks can help UF win against 15 other participating universities, said Rachel Reiss, a UF political science junior and the president of Greeks Going Green.

The school that uses the highest percent of reusable cups will win a $2,500 grant to continue implementing sustainability initiatives, the 20-year-old said.

She said the Starbucks at Library West was chosen to record participants because it has the highest coffee sales volume on campus.

Customers who bring reusable cups get a 25-cent discount at Starbucks, she said.

The campaign will also serve as a platform to educate people about sustainability. Consumers often think paper to-go cups can be recycled, said Allison Vitt, the outreach and communications coordinator for the UF Office of Sustainability.

"Those cups definitely go to the landfill," Vitt said. "They have a lining that keeps that coffee from seeping out of it, and therefore they are not paper, they’re not plastic."

Nationwide, Starbucks only has a reusable cup rate of 1.8 percent. UF beats that average with a rate of about 3.2 percent, Vitt said.

UF English professor Pamela Gilbert buys tea from Starbucks at least once a day. She usually forgets to bring her own cup with her.

Reiss said taking a cup can become habitual.

"It’s really important, and it’s really easy for students to do," Reiss said.

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