Universiteit Leiden

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Paper cups in the University Library vending machines

This week, in the context of sustainability, a pilot will begin in the University Library, in which the coffee machines will issue paper cups instead of plastic.

Last year, the University Facilities Directorate (UFB) rolled out the sustainable catering concept “Pure” throughout the university. Pure focuses on healthy, vegetarian and sustainable products. As part of Pure, the contents of the snack machines were re-arranged to better meet the concept’s healthy principles.

For years, the coffee machines have dispensed coffee bearing the Fair Trade and EU organic hallmarks. Now, the machines in the University Library will dispense coffee in paper cups that have been sustainably composed and manufactured. These cups are made of paper that has been made according to certifiably sustainable methods. The inside of the cups has been provided with a bio-based, organically biodegradable coating (PLA). 

In addition to the sustainable production method used to produce the cups, paper cups are better for the environment: paper projects a more environmentally-conscious image than plastic, which in and of itself contributes to changing the behaviour of staff and students.

The paper cups can also be re-used over several cups of coffee, reducing waste and therefore our environmental impact. And in the end, a paper cup is just nicer to drink from than a plastic one after all.