Reusable mug program: Assessing campus perspectives and use of the pilot program at the Killam Library, Dalhousie University
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The main objective of this study is to assess perspectives and use of the reusable mug pilot program at the Killam Library, Dalhousie University. Reduction of solid waste is a widespread environmental and sustainability issue as the solid waste that is sent landfills has many associated negative effects (Government of Canada, 2012). These negative effects include contamination of surrounding land, groundwater, and surficial bodies of water (Government of Canada, 2012). Additionally, the landfill itself produces greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide, thus contributing to overall climate change (Government of Canada, 2012). Solid waste production is an important issue at Dalhousie University because 40% of waste produced at Dalhousie University ends up in landfills (Dalhousie University, 2015). Disposable cups contribute to solid waste at Dalhousie University and because of this, the Office of Sustainability is piloting a reusable mug program at Second Cup with the goal of reducing disposable cup waste. By assessing perspectives of the reusable mug pilot program launched on March 5, 2019, this study gathered information about the support and interest regarding the permanent implementation of sustainable programs such as this pilot program. Additionally, we aimed to uncover barriers regarding pilot program use in order to strengthen and improve the program for perceived future implementation. Using a mixed method approach, we collected data through qualitative (surveys) and quantitative (count observation) methods over one week during the primary stages of the program. Our results suggest that participants would use the reusable mug program, however many participants were not aware of it. The majority of the participants were in favour of having this program permanently implemented in the Killam Library, as well as in other buildings such as the Student Union Building and Life Sciences Centre. Quantitative count data suggested that 5% of individuals consuming beverages at the Second Cup used mugs provided by the pilot program, while the remaining used disposable cups and their personal reusable mugs. Overall, our research demonstrates that a reusable mug program could be an effective solution to reduce excessive use of disposable coffee cups in the Killam Library at Dalhousie University.