The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

Students lead program that reduces waste from coffee runs


By Katlin Sweeney


Grabbing coffee before class is a societal custom that many college students have implemented into their daily routine. However, the plastic cup that these drinks are purchased in are utilized one time and then immediately thrown away.

For individuals that have harbored guilt over throwing away hundreds of coffee shop cups after only a few hours of use, the Kill the Cup initiative provides a simpler way to make consumption more eco-friendly. Kill the Cup is a four-week program in which participants deviate from getting their morning drink order served in a plastic cup and instead bring their own reusable one. With establishments offering incentives to contribute to this eco-friendly trend, such as Starbucks offering customers 10 cents for utilizing reusable cups, Kill the Cup further motivates participants with the opportunity to win prizes, for example $50 cash award or an iPad.

This program, which originally started out as a grant project at UCSD, has evolved into an initiative that not only seeks to reduce waste, but makes eco-friendly consumer behavior fun as well. Kill the Cup has provided training and resources to students interested in heading their own teams at various universities in an effort to widen the program’s reach and increase the use of reusable cups.

“We want to celebrate the environment and consumer behaviors that benefit it,” co-founder of Kill the Cup, Drew Beal, said. “The goal is to have these student ambassadors that are passionate about doing something in society, but maybe don’t have the tools, experience running a four week campaign that helps with sustainability.”

Beginning in October, CSUSM will join seven other college campuses in competing to garner the most participants, and the most reusable cups utilized, during their four week long campaign. The winning program will receive a $2,000 grant to fund their own project for sustainability.

Alex Caratti and Daniel Geisler are the student leads for the CSUSM branch of the project as well as President and Vice President, respectively, of the new CSUSM Sustainability Club. The club, which is heading the organization and marketing for the campaign, encourages students, faculty and staff to participate in the Kill the Cup initiative.

“One of my passions is sustainability, which is why I started the club this fall,” Caratti said. “I was connected to Drew through faculty and staff on campus, and we thought that the [Kill the Cup] challenge would be a great way to start our presence.”

The campus has been extremely supportive of the campaign thus far, Caratti citing ASI and Office of Communications as being interested in helping spread the word to students and staff.

“We’re partnering with Jazzman’s and Starbucks [on campus] so that when you use your reusable mug, you are entitled to the 10 cent discount,” Caratti said. “They will keep track of how many of these cups have been used.”

In order to be entered into the raffle to win prizes for joining the campaign, participants can go to, enter their university email address and upload a selfie with a reusable cup. Each photo is worth five points, participants can post one photo per day and they receive bonus points for sharing it on social media.

Kill the Cup starts on Monday, Oct. 6 and will end on Friday, Oct. 31.


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