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UCC Library Sustainability: Ditch the Disposable

Information on UCC Library's Sustainability Campaign.

The Scourge of the Disposable

There is no denying the global move against the use of disposables.

  • It is estimated that 200 million disposable coffee cups are used in Ireland each year. 
  • Only 9% of all plastic ever produced has been recycled.  

In line with UCC's aims to minimise the use of unnecessary single-use items on campus, from September 2017, UCC staff and students are no longer permitted to bring disposable coffee cups into the library. 

One of the  biggest sources of contamination in our waste was liquid from unfinished coffee cups, which meant that bags labelled for recycling had to go to general waste.

Ditch the Disposable

We imposed a complete ban on disposable coffee cups in the library.  The severity of this move was mitigated somewhat by offering reusable bamboo mugs and negotiating a discount for the use of these mugs at all campus coffee outlets.
green bamboo reusable cup with UCC logo

We asked students to pledge their support for the new system and over 1,000 signed up in the first hour.


Since the coffee cup ban was introduced the Students' Union has secured funding from Cork City Council and the Southern Region Waste Management Office to give every incoming First Year student a reusable cup at orientation.

We offer re-usable cups made from bamboo for sale at the Library Services desk.

Green Conferencing

front of dishwasher












In a further step to "ditch the disposable” we installed a sparkling new dishwasher in one of the store rooms in the library. 

In collaboration with KSG Group, UCC’s catering provider, we can now facilitate the cleaning and storage of real cups, plates, cutlery etc. These are used instead of paper and plastic for conferences and other events.  

See below for information on UCC's Bio Green Cafe.

Strategic Signage

 Strategically Placed Signage both inside and outside the library encourages people to use disposable cups 


BYOB Bring Your Own Bottle


One of our objectives was to increase the use of water fountains and reduce the number of single-use plastic bottles. So, to achieve this we had to ensure that water fountains were in good working order and that the water was potable.

In the summer of 2017 the Buildings & Estates office carried out a survey of the water filling stations in the building and repaired any faulty ones.


There are 12 water stations located at key points throughout the library.

Just follow the water drops to find them.



We encourage people to bring a reusable water bottle and fill it at a water station on campus - it’s free, and just as good for you as bottled water.
Think before you buy single-use items.

Try out our re-usable water bottles made from

sugar cane. On sale at the Library Services desk.