The initiative has already seen the canteen on the Sligo campus reduce general waste by 50%, increase recyclable waste levels to 75% (hitting 2030 targets) and has seen 200,000 single-use items eliminated, since the initiative was implemented.
The move is part of the University's ongoing efforts to promote environmental sustainability and reduce its carbon footprint. The elimination of paper cups and replacement by 2GoCups, the introduction of alternative options for all users and the removal of all bins from the Foodcourt have all been key components of the change journey.
The students, faculty, and staff are also encouraged to take individual actions to reduce their plastic usage by bringing their own reusable coffee cups and water bottles to work. Ceramic mugs are also available on both campuses as an alternative.
Michael O’Hehirs, owner of O'Hehirs Bakery, who operates the canteen facilities on both campuses, said he is delighted to lead this as part of a business wide 'Green mission' for O'Hehir's.
"We are very pleased with the positive impact these changes have had. The ownership and commitment from our team in the ATU and the support from all our stakeholders has been incredible and encourages us to continue this journey.”
President of ATU, Dr Orla Flynn, says that eliminating single-use plastics is a significant step toward creating a more sustainable future for the broader community.
"We have a responsibility to protect the environment for future generations, and this includes reducing our waste across all our campuses. The university's commitment to sustainability has already received positive feedback from students, staff, and the wider community, and we should be proud that we are part of the growing movement towards a more sustainable future. Our next step will be supporting all our campuses to build on these good practices."
Student Dylan Murphy is part of the Green Campus Initiative at ATU Sligo and says it’s “fantastic to see reusable cups.”
“The implementation of 2GoCups was delayed due to Covid so it's fantastic to see it come to fruition. It's a simple step to less waste on campus, without stopping anyone from taking a hot beverage to Go. Win- win.”
For further information on the 'Green Mission' campaign and eco-friendly 2GoCup, visit https://www.ohehirsfoodcourt.ie/ and https://www.2gocup.ie/.