Deployment of reusable tableware at UNIGE

  • 2019-04-09 11:35:29
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  • Canton de Genève
  • 24 rue du Général-Dufour 1211 Genève 4
  • Start date : septembre 2018

Since 17 September 2018, the start of the academic year, all UNIGE cafeterias have been offering reusable tableware for takeaway meals. Like cups at events or festivals, you need only to pay a deposit of 10 Swiss francs to get a ReBOX, i.e. a bowl with a lid (a compartmentalized box) or a ReCUP, more suitable for soups, or hot or cold drinks.

The container can be taken back to any UNIGE cafeteria after eating your meal, and the 10 francs will be returned; or it can be kept at home, washed and possibly returned later.

The same type of system exists for coffee/tea cups (Good Cups), and the deposit is 2 francs.

Source: UNIGE

Qualitative benefits

Ecological impact: 

In total, over 2,500 cardboard cups have been saved; and over 3,200 pieces of disposable tableware have not been disposed of in a bin for incinerable waste (the figures cover the months of September, October and November 2018). According to initial estimates for 2019, the number of reusable containers sold is on the increase.

Economic impact: 

Cafeteria managers save thousands of francs by no longer buying disposable tableware.

Stages of the project

Three factors helped to get the project started:

  • sustainable development policies integrated into the companies managing UNIGE cafeterias;
  • the increasing sensitivity of the UNIGE Rectorate to sustainable development and in particular to waste management;
  • the impetus given by the students, attentive to limiting single-use plastics and environmental issues in general.

Areas of activity

December 2017: first meeting with a cafeteria to consider launching the action, in partnership with the firm ReCIRCLE

May 2018: All UNIGE cafeterias agree to join the project. It is also decided to launch a communication campaign when the action is launched with posters, and students undertaking to raise awareness and inform.

September 2018: The action is launched in all cafeterias

October 2018: Reusable Good Cups are offered to customers as an alternative to cardboard cups

December 2018: All the cafeterias decide to take out an annual subscription to ReCIRCLE, validating the sustainability of the project

Among the obstacles to the project are the following:

  • some users are reluctant to pay a deposit of CHF 10 (note that they are very much in the minority);
  • the difficulty of forcing cafeterias to completely eliminate disposable tableware on cafeterias (although to date, only one cafeteria still keeps disposable containers as an alternative to reusable ones);
  • the slightly slower take-off of reusable Good Cups, which would require a promotional campaign to itself;
  • the relatively high cost of setting up the action.

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