Taking Reuse to the Next Level at Rutgers University


In 2017 Cupanion is continuing to take reuse to the next level at college and university campuses across North America! Our first launch this year was at Rutgers University and we are super excited about their program.

Rutgers University is taking reuse to a whole other level by eliminating disposable cups from their takeout food service locations completely. This is a big step for a college, but Cupanion was there to help them with their zero waste initiative.

Rutgers’ Dining Service, Students’ Union, Residence Hall Association, and Rutgers’ newspaper The Daily Targum all partnered together to bring reusable Cupanion bottles to their campus for students with meal plans. Each student was provided with a bottle when they swiped for a meal, if students wanted an extra bottle they could purchase another one at cost from dining services.

Students using Cupanion Rewards

Since Rutgers was eliminating all disposable cups from their takeout dining locations they wanted a way to incentivize to bring their bottle each time they got a takeout meal. That’s where Cupanion Rewards came in to help them with this undertaking.

With the Cupanion Rewards app students at Rutgers can track their reuse and earn rewards on campus. For every 1,000 points students earn they receive a free beverage on campus. The program helps motivate students to bring their bottles with them each time they get a takeout meal. Also with the reminders feature within the app, students can set notifications to remind them to bring their bottle with them.

Since Rutgers banned disposable cups from all their takeout locations it does require the students to make the behavioural change of remembering to bring their reusable bottle with them. There are a few ways Rutgers is making it easier for students to make this change:

  • Providing them with a really great bottle with Cupanion Rewards (for free). The first 20,000 students with a meal plan got a Confident Cupanion® – which is a double walled, vacuum insulated, leakproof, stainless steel bottle. This bottle is good for both hot and cold beverages so students can use it interchangeably. Since the bottle is all stainless steel it is also extremely durable which is key for fitting into a student’s lifestyle.
  • Educating front line foodservice employees. This is necessary because they are the staff that see the students on a regular basis. They are key players in educating students and getting them excited about the program. The foodservice staff were also responsible for handing out the bottles and accounting for students that received their bottle.
  • Signage and Information. Rutgers Dining along with Cupanion provided students with easy access to information about the program in the form of inserts, posters, and pamphlets. Rutgers Dining put together a great FAQ poster that was at each takeout location to provide students with any clarification they may need.
  • Flexibility. Rutgers added flexibility to their program by allowing students to bring their own reusable bottle as long as it was similar in size to the Cupanion bottle. This allows students who may have forgotten their bottle or who prefer to drink out of another type of bottle to still participate in the program.
  • The program has been on campus for a week and Rutgers Dining has already saved around $3,000 on disposable cups, lids, and straws. Rutgers Dining, RUSA, and RHA are also helping to change Rutgers’ students behaviour to become more environmentally aware which is a great value that they can take with them when they leave Rutgers University.

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