Putting a lid on paper cup waste


If there’s one thing students and staff turn to in order to get them through the day, it’s a cup of coffee — and that produces a mountain of paper cups at Sheridan.

The college’s Office for Sustainability focuses on two areas in helping scale that mountain, according to Wai Chu Cheng, Sheridan’s sustainability coordinator.

Volunteers inform people about the benefits of bringing your own mug.

Volunteers inform people about the benefits of bringing your own mug.

“One is to increase diversion, meaning we want to encourage people to separate recyclable waste from landfill waste,” Cheng said. “The second thing we like to encourage people to do is to basically reduce the waste generated on campus.”

According to Cheng, in an average week, the Sheridan community buys more than 7,000 cups of coffee across the Trafalgar campus.

“It doesn’t make sense for us to generate paper coffee cups and then throw them out and then we are paying more to someone else to handle our waste,” Cheng said.


Last year, it cost Sheridan $168,391 to have waste hauled away.

It’s not just the price of garbage removal that is rising.

Coffee prices at Sheridan went up this week to 10 cents more per cup at Tim Hortons and five cents more per cup at Second Cup.

“We noticed people usually drink two cups of coffee a day,” Cheng said. “If you do the math, each year it adds up to $138 and that’s significant.”

To help save money on each cup of coffee you buy, it’s as simple as bringing your own mug or tumbler.


At Tim Hortons you can save 30 cents a cup, at Second Cup you can save 20 cents a cup and at the Student Union’s Coffee Loft, you can save 10 cents a cup.

There are volunteers on all campuses promoting the benefits of bringing your own mug, as well as talking about the environmental impact of using paper coffee cups.

“Most people have reusable mugs at home, it’s just a matter of remembering to bring it and then use it,” Cheng said.

“Once you establish that habit, it’s not a big deal.”