Food Waste

The Bottomless Coffee Mug Program Saves Cups!

This Monday, the Bottomless Mug program has returned to all dining facilities serving coffee on campus. Thanks to an ongoing partnership between Bon Appetit and WashU Dining Services, coffee drinkers can save money and prevent hundreds of disposable coffee cups from going to the landfill by buying a “Bottomless Mug”, providing unlimited access to fresh brewed coffee on campus.

How it Works

  1. Walk in to your usual campus coffee shop and ask to join the Bottomless Mug Program.
  2. Purchase your one-time $99 membership, valid for the entire academic year. Want to wait? No worries, you can buy a half-price membership for one semester! Credit card, cash, Bears Bucks and meal points are accepted.
  3. Choose your style of mug: A ceramic mug, classic and stylish; or a travel mug, modern and handy.
  4. Get as much coffee as you need and enjoy the delicious taste and boost of your locally roasted coffee. You can have it hot or iced-cold!
  5. Hold on to your mug, clean it and keep it close for the next time you feel like having a coffee break.
  6. The next time you show up at a campus café, only your mug will be needed to prove a valid membership. Without any transaction required, you will save money, a disposable cups, AND time!

Noah (on the left of the picture), sophomore in Psychology, decided to join the program after seeing the promotional signs around Bears Den. He’s really excited about his brand new bottomless mug:

“I’m a big coffee drinker so it made sense for me to buy into the program. I’m saving money, saving paper cups, and it’s way more convenient. I don’t have to worry about having cash on me anymore, since it’s already paid for!”


Save Disposable Cups

The program started three years ago in reaction to the enormous consumption of disposable cups, especially among active and student populations. In 2010, it was found that about 5,600 paper cups were used and disposed every day at WashU, which is more than 1.3 million cups every year. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, the materials, production and shipping for each paper cup account for .93 square feet of destroyed natural habitat. That means that our campus would be responsible for destroying more than 21 acres of natural habitat every year, just by drinking out of disposable cups! In addition, most disposable coffee cups can’t be recycled or composted and will ultimately end up in landfill areas.

By offering an incentive for reusable coffee cups, WashU helps to significantly reduce the amount of waste generated by its dining facilities, but even more importantly, encourages its community to consume less.

Save Money and Time

$99 for unlimited coffee during an entire academic year doesn’t mean you need to drink coffee every day to offset your investment. Drinking three coffee cups a week will already save you more than $100 in a year! If you drink more, you’ll be saving a couple dollars each time you get a refill. Doing one payment for your annual coffee consumption will also relieve you from the trouble of having small change in your wallet and make your stop at the café way shorter!

Support a Local and Fair Economy

All coffee served on campus by Bon Appetit is Kaldi’s coffee, a local business originally started by a former WashU student. The first Kaldi’s Coffee opened its doors in 1994 in the DeMun neighborhood, just South of Danforth Campus. In addition to being locally roasted, Kaldi’s coffee specializes in sustainable sourcing and business practices. The company was also one of the first retailers in St. Louis to offer certified Fair Trade coffees. These coffees are monitored by Fair Trade Federation, ensuring that at least a minimum sustainable wage was paid to the co-op at origin that exported the coffee. Consequently, by buying into the Bottomless Mug program, you are ultimately supporting a greener and more equitable world.