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The Perk deal helps cup waste

Posted on 02.20.2013

The Perk has offered reduced-price drinks for anyone who brings a reusable mug since opening more than 10 years ago.

“We do have a handful of students who are very conscious. They want to bring their own mug,” said Food Court and Perk Manager Lisa Jordan.

Anyone can take a reusable cup to The Perk and get the coffee of the day for 99 cents plus tax, and The Perk staff also will fill hot and iced tea orders with the cups. Only specialty drinks remain as  originally priced for reusable cups.

Jordan said that using fewer cups does not benefit The Perk financially, but it helps the campus and reduces waste.

In 2012, Polk Food Services used 20 cases of 16-ounce hot cups and 42 cases of 20-ounce hot cups, with 1,000 cups in each. The Food Court used 422 cases of styrofoam cups, with 500 cups in each. Together, 273,000 cups were used last year.

Jordan said that The Perk tries to combat waste in many different ways.

“The ones [cups] that we have now are biodegradable,” Jordan said. “There are days even The Perk, if you notice, will try to keep the lights down just to conserve energy.”

Sophomore nursing major James Frawley said that he tries to conserve energy and believes that The Perk should do more to promote its reduced price refill.

“The Perk could put up a sign, or we could just do things like: if you use a reusable cup five times, get a free drink—little things like that … ” Frawley said.

Frawley said that informing people about how to reduce waste is better than forcing them to do so.

“I’d say that it comes down to the individual. If we can open their eyes about the impact that they’re having, they’re going to make the decision on their own,” Frawley said.

Freshman theatre major Morgan Jackson visits The Perk at least twice a day to get specialty drinks. Although she does not use her own cup,  she sees the benefit.

“I mean, I could definitely get in the habit of bringing my own travel mugs with me,” Jackson said.

Jackson said that reusable mugs are a great idea that more people should adopt.

“I knew one woman who would be in line with me a lot that would bring her own coffee mug. They would fill it up for her,” Jackson said. “I knew it was possible if you wanted to bring your own mug, but she was the only person I ever saw take advantage of it.”

Jordan said that The Perk asks customers to take the lids off their reusable mugs for sanitary reasons. But there is one problem.

“The only drawback that we do see is people will bring us a dirty cup,” Jordan said. “They will hand it to us and say, ‘Can you fill this cup?’ You know, it’s always best to have that clean.”


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