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Making a mug out of the Uni's YorCup

The University's well-intended but misguided 'Fu-cup' causes more problems than it solves

Photo Credit: YUSU

The new term marks a new and misguided environmental initiative from the University: the YorCup scheme. Ostensibly a policy intended to make the University a greener space, based on the 5p plastic bag tax, YorCup is actually a totally unnecessary scheme that hits students hard when the University could easily achieve the same benefits without making its drinks more expensive for students.

The policy, that YUSU has supported, effectively creates two price bands: a higher, "latte levy" band, for those who need a disposable cup, and a lower band for those who bring their own (drinking in at venues like Derwent Costa, with crockery). The difference between the two bands is 40p – a huge proportion of a cup of tea or coffee. The "latte levy" is set at 20p, 400 per cent of the legal tariff on plastic bags. And indeed, a similar scheme already existed – discounts were already given to students who brought their own reusable cups.

The new scheme both increases the discount for bringing your own cup – and this is surely a move to be celebrated in rewarding good environmental practice – but also has the effect of raising the price for the majority of students who will choose not to shell out for a YorCup. If you bring the sleeve from your YorCup to an outlet, you can get a clean YorCup that you are then expected to return the next time you buy a drink. What they don’t seem to have noticed, however, is that someone could theoretically collect any number of YorCups despite only paying for one, simply by continually taking the sleeve off the YorCup and going back. The fact that YUSU have chosen to support and promote this policy, as opposed to challenge it, is yet another misjudgement on their part.

YUSU has a near monopoly on campus bars – it now runs D Bar, Courtyard, Glasshouse, Kitchen and the artist formerly known as V Bar. Would it not be far better for YUSU to adopt recyclable cups as a blanket policy across their bars, and therefore remove the need for raising prices on students with no real consultation?

Our beloved Students' Union has, after all, imposed YoYo Wallet, changed the name of V Bar to Vanbrugh Arms and now announced this new "levy", all while continuing to claim to be on the side of students. While the environment is an issue of vital importance, and the policy of a discount is an excellent one, it cannot be in the interest of students to have the price raised. Lids on disposable cups from YUSU are already compostable. Recyclable cups are available. YUSU could adopt them, but instead they are accepting this baffling step of charging an environmental levy on cups that are already environmentally friendly. YUSU, along with the University, once again chooses to enter gesture politics to no benefit for its students, continuing to enact policies without considering whether they benefit students.

The question now: with elections just around the corner, will YUSU finally act on the side of students? Or is another concerted RON campaign just around the corner?

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4 Comment

Trash talker Posted on Wednesday 19 Feb 2020

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