For the entire March, all 10 cafes operated by Cornell Dining competed to increase their sales in reusable cups as they participated in “Kick the Cup,” which is a part of an annual event called Recyclemania, a nationwide competition among colleges to recycle and reduce waste.
During the competition, all customers could get 10 percent off their drink if they brought in reusable cups — a discount that Cornell Dining has also offered throughout the semester. What marked the competition was that customers enter raffles to win prizes and coupons if they use a reusable mug.
After four weeks of competition, Bus Stop Bagels ultimately finished first, with a 3 percent improvement in the sale of drinks in reusable cups. Carol’s Cafe in the Tatkon Center came in second, with a 2.8 percent growth in sales, while Rusty’s and Cafe Jennie tied for third place with a 1.3 percent improvement.
Bermel and other coordinators collected the stats on how many drinks with reusable cups they were able to sell, with the winner chosen based on who netted the most improvement across the four weeks.
“But this campaign is more [about] making a competition between cafes and forcing them to market [the idea of using reusable cups],” Lily Bermel ’21, one of the event’s coordinators, told The Sun.
“It saves millions of cup worth of mass of space from landfill,” Bermel continued. “Also it saves that energy and the trees [used to produce the cups].”
The winning cafe, Bus Stop Bagels, got a basket of kitchen utensils and gift cards. Fifteen students were also chosen from raffles and given a gift card, according to Bermel.
For cafes, this competition also motivated them to more effectively promote reusable cups.
“Because we are such a small cafe, our employee actually talked to people [about the sustainability and benefit] and tried to tell them about [the competition],” Ingrid Faria ’19, student manager of Carol’s Cafe told The Sun. “It is more effective than putting up a poster.”