The Journey to Zero Waste

UCC aims to be Zero Waste Campus

The UCC SUP Policy covers SUPs sold by UCC’s suppliers and subsidiary companies and any market stalls permitted to trade on UCC campus. The items covered by this policy include:

  • Single-Use beverage containers i.e. coffee cups, drinks cups etc.
  • Single-Use salad containers/lunch boxes
  • Single-Use plastic cutlery
  • Single-Use plastic bottles (e.g. for water/ soft drinks)
  • Further SUP items may be added to this list at a later date by the SUP Action Group, and it will be clearly communicated to all relevant stakeholders where applicable

The Policy agreed that the 1st January 2023, all disposable cups and plastic bottles will have been completely phased out of all UCC Restaurants, catering and vending services.

A Guide to Single Use Plastic Free UCC

When you come to UCC Campus, as student, staff member or visitor, here are some tips to ensure a smooth, single-use plastic free visit!

  1. Bring your own reusable cup.  If you need to clean your cup while on campus there are freshcup machines at various locations including the main restaurant.
  2. If you don't have your own cup, many outlets will provide you with crockery.  These include Aras na MacLeinn, the main restaurant and Roots cafe in the Hub.
  3. Some outlets don't offer crockery, but you can avail of a reusable cup on loan for deposit of €2.  Return the cup afterwards and get your €2 back!
  4. If you're thirsty, there are numerous internal and external water refilling stations across campus.  You can find them on this map.  Other beverages are available in cans or tetrapak bottles, or you can use the soft drink refill station at the main restaurant.  


Reducing Food Waste on Campus

In late 2022, UCC's contracted catering supplier initiated a collaboration with "Positive Carbon".  Positive Carbon use artificial intelligence technology and a fully automated monitoring system to identify all food entering food waste bins.  Detailed real time reporting provides trends and statistics.  The data provides visibility to enable changes to preparation, production and purchasing decisions.  For example, having seen early results, the UCC KSG team changed the menu offerings in the staff restaurant to align more closely with what was on offer in the main restaurant and reduce food waste from that outlet.  



Reducing Paper Consumption on Campus

As a University, paper historically accounted for a sigificant amount of our overall waste tonnage.  In 2019, the University introduced a new Sustainable Print Management policy, which saw a move to networked printing and a pay-per page model across campus.  Additionally, the Graduate Studies Office updated their guidelines to allow for electronic submission of research theses.  Combined with the forced move to online working brought about by the Covid pandemic, these two measures saw a huge reduction in our overall peper consumption.