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That's Rubbish!

For 2019, the ethics and environmental group decided to focus on the issue of disposable takeaway waste in campus catering outlets. We put out a survey to the GCU community and here is what you told us: 

When eating on campus, respondents used a takeaway container half the time. The results were even worse for disposable takeaway cups with them being used over 60% of the time!

Of the times you do eat/drink on campus, what percentage do you use…


disposable takeaway container(s)


plastic takeaway cutlery


disposable takeaway cup


As takeaway cups are a major contributor to the waste at GCU, we focused on them to get an in-depth understanding of why and how we use them.

One of the survey questions asked if you regularly use a travel mug/keep cup.

A bit of a puzzle here? Most respondents own and regularly use an eco-friendly hot liquid receptacle (aka a keep cup/travel mug) yet they also get a disposable takeaway cup 3 out of 5 times they get a drink. 

This might help explain the conundrum! The top reason why respondents use a disposable takeaway cup is that they forgot their travel mug.

This tells us two things...

  • first, that we are a forgetful bunch
  • second, that most people have the motivation to use eco-friendly alternatives to disposable takeaway coffee cups

There are loads of different theories about behaviour change, however, motivation is an important aspect in creating change in most of them. These results help to affirm that the GCU community do want to change their relationship to disposable takeaway cups. 

This motivation to be eco-friendly came out even more on this question: 

85% of respondents to the survey want to see disposable takeaway coffee cups phased out. This question comes from an idea which Student Voice discussed. The idea was approved at Student Voice and your officer team is working to put into action. They will be working with the catering outlets and the university to create change and reduce the waste that comes from disposable takeaway coffee cups.  

These are only a few of the results that came out of the survey. You can find out the full results of the survey here and the Ethical & Environmental group would like to thank everyone who took the time to fill it out!



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