Join the mug club

In an effort to reduce the impact of paper cups thrown away on campus, UH Dining Services launched a reusable mug program in February 2011. However, most students are blissfully unaware of the program and its intention.

Students using the mug can get soda for 99 cents at participating locations, not including the dining halls.  |  Mahnoor Samana/The Daily Cougar

Students using the mug can get soda for 99 cents at participating locations, not including the dining halls. | Mahnoor Samana/The Daily Cougar

“The number varies, but if a student were to purchase one fountain drink per day — Monday through Friday — for a 16-week semester, that would keep 80 cups out of landfills per student,” said Amber Arguijo, Aramark Dining Services marketing manager.

“Now multiply that number of students who eat on campus each semester, and the results are quite impactful.”

The cup sells for $4.99 at some campus convenience stores, and students can get fountain drinks with the mug for 99 cents at many campus dining locations.

In addition, on-campus Starbucks locations knock 10 cents off your tab when you bring a mug and buy freshly brewed coffee.

Political science senior Tyler Albarado said he had never heard of the Green Thread cup.

“I think it’s a good strategy to help the environment, and it helps students save money. However, I wish the University advertised the cup better, especially in the food courts,” Albarado said.

The wax lining in cups prevents them from being recycled, and the cups are also free from Bisphenol A, a chemical included in plastic products.

Biology senior Falak Pasha never considered purchasing a Green Thread cup until recently.

“I did not know that the purpose of the Green Thread to-go cup is to help reduce paper cup waste on campus,” Pasha said.

“Now that I know, I would definitely consider buying one because it helps the environment.”

The exclusions to the program include both dining halls, Chick-fil-A’s lemonade, Tealicious, China Star and the shopping center across the street from the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.

For some students, recycling is the motivation to participate. However, others are concerned with the money they will save.

“(The Green Thread Cups) sure beat buying expensive drinks from the vending machines located throughout campus,” Albarado said.

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  • You know what else would reduce paper cup waste? Keeping up with the cup dishes at the dining hall.

    Several times a week the dining hall seems to “run out” of certain dishes, frequently cups and silverware. So you have to visit all four drink stations in search of a cup (sometimes there are none to be found) or all the places there might be a spoon, only to be disappointed. If there are cups, they are frequently the paper ones.

    Perhaps we’ve lost our cups to students who take them out of the dining hall, but if the dining services is committed to sustainability and customer service, they’ll figure out a way to keep cups at the drink stations.

  • Thanks DC for posting this. I’m hoping that the “wax lining in cups” refers to the usable disposable cups, and not the Green Thread Mugs. I’d find it very odd that a reusable cup would not be recyclable in general, despite it’s intended reuse.

    But yeah, they need to be advertised more. You could see them before at the UC, but they weren’t really noticeable. I’m kind of considering one myself since it’s cheaper than the vending machines.

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