A Mug-Share Program at Dalhousie University
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Single-use cups represent a large quantity of needless waste produced on the Dalhousie Campus. This research projects focuses on single-use cups waste minimization initiatives on the Dalhousie’s Studley Campus. In particular, it explored the potential benefits and barriers associated with the Mug-Share program comparable to that of which was spearheaded by the University of Northern British Columbia. The objective of this study is to further Dalhousie University’s solid waste diversion initiatives and contribute to overall institutional sustainability. The study was designed to gauge the interest of students, staff and faculty at Dalhousie University in a Mug-Share program. The study carried out a thorough literature review, which provided a comprehensive analysis of single-use cups and their implications for the environment and waste management in the province of Nova Scotia and institutions of higher education. Further, it instrumented a survey/questionnaire and employed non-probabilistic consecutive sampling. The scope of the research was limited to the Studley campus and in particular, the beverage retail locations in the Student Union Building and Killam Library. It was discovered that 94% of research participants consume between 1 and 9+ single-use cups on a weekly basis, 40% of which improperly dispose their single-use cup. Eighty-two percent of research participant believe that single-use cups are an unnecessary source of waste. The majority of participants felt that reducing waste was the largest incentive to participate in the program. The largest concern was cleanliness. Eighty-eight percent of participants said they would participate in the program if it were implemented on the Studley Campus. While these results cannot be generalized for the entire Dalhousie community, they are a strong indication that the Mug-Share program would be successful in engaging students, staff and faculty and would be effective in minimizing waste generated by single use cups.