Billie Cups replace disposable cups on campus

Brown, blue and white. Since the beginning of this month, everyone at TU Delft can drink their coffee or tea from a reusable cup – the Billie Cup. Deposit: EUR 1.

(Photo: Marjolein van der Veldt)

From 2024 onwards, disposable cups and meal packaging will no longer be permitted by law in offices, the hospitality sector, or at festivals. This means that the familiar white and blue TU Delft cups will disappear from campus. 

TU Delft is preempting this regulation in the week of the circular economy (February 6-11). Last Monday, the eight manned food and drinks services on campus (3mE Espressobar, BK Sterk, CiTG Espressobar by LIT Espresso, Coffee & Bikes, Echo Coffeecorner, EWI Espresso Piaggio, Fellowship Foodmarket and Library Coffee-star) stopped serving coffee and tea in plastic disposable cups, but in reusable Billie Cups instead.

You pay a one-time deposit of EUR 1 per cup for the Billie Cup. When you finish your drink you return the cup and get a coin token which you can use to get a new cup the next time. The Billie Cups come in three sizes: small, medium and large. Perfect for an espresso, lungo or cappuccino. Do you want a takeaway coffee? For another euro you can get a lid. This is not returnable so you need to wash it yourself.

Washing up
While the arrival of the Billie Cup was announced in various TU Delft channels and there is a large display close to the counter, the Library Coffee-star baristas often still need to explain the concept to their customers. “They’re fine with it, but some students and staff members are sceptical,” says a barista. “They want to know what the cup is made of (the cup is 100% recyclable polypropylene, Eds.) and how we clean them.”

Whenever possible, the cleaning is done on-site, says a TU Delft spokesperson. The coffee bars that do not have enough washing up facilities may send the cups to the closest catering location with their dirty dishes. “There are also enough clean cups so you never need to wait long,” explains a TU Delft spokesperson. But the cleaning does seem to be quite a job. The Coffee-star has temporarily removed the big, white cups from its selection. “We couldn’t clean them properly,” was the explanation. “There were even lipstick stains on the edge of the cup even after washing.”

“This could be a reason for students to bring their own cups,” says TU Delft alumnus Borna Salarian, who was working at the TU Delft Library. “At least you then know that your cup is clean.” You can always bring your own cup, and you will even get a discount at the Coffee-star.

Salarian, who is on campus once in a while, though would prefer to return the cup at the end of the day and get his deposit back. But this is not an option. “The coin that you get when returning the Billie Cup cannot be exchanged for money,” explains the spokesperson. “You can of course keep the cup and use it elsewhere.”

Blue and white cups
For now, the cups are only available at the eight manned catering locations. The separate rubbish bins to put the blue and white cups in for recycling will remain in place temporarily.

All the remaining disposable cups will be collected by the caterer from the coffee bars mentioned above somewhere in the next fortnight and will be used at locations outside TU Delft.

Editor Redactie

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