Embedding Sustainability: Refreshing First Coffee at Darden
13 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017
The associate director of the sustainability programs at the Darden School of Business was well aware that much of Darden's solid waste was made up of the disposable cups used for its daily First Coffee event and that somehow First Coffee needed to be refreshed. There had to be a better way to serve coffee and tea to a community of individuals without using disposable cups.
Jun. 18, 2013
REFRESHING FIRST COFFEE AT DARDEN
Erika Herz, associate director of the sustainability programs at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, closed her office door behind her. She was on her way to Classroom 150 to meet with Professor Richard Brownlee and second-year student leaders about the upcoming 2013 Business in Society Conference, which was only two months away. As she walked out of the Faculty Office Building, she spotted a candy wrapper on the sidewalk. Placing it in the nearest trash can, Herz observed that the trash can was mostly filled with disposable coffee cups. She peeked into all the other trash cans she saw along the walk to the classroom building. All contained wrappers, paper, food, and even a few bottles and cans, but primarily they contained disposable cups for hot beverages.
Herz was well aware that much of Darden's solid waste, which had been greatly reduced in the past five years, was made up of these disposable cups. Seeing them reminded her that somehow First Coffee needed to be refreshed. There had to be a better way to serve coffee and tea to a community of individuals, most of whom were not leaving the premises, without using disposable cups. The idea of changing First Coffee delivery procedures had arisen numerous times in past discussions about Darden's zero waste to landfill goal. But doing so was complicated, particularly because Darden's intent also was to provide the Darden community with a convenient and pleasant morning experience. There were also financial issues to consider, besides the fact that long-standing traditions were difficult to alter. Nevertheless, Herz was convinced it was time for a change.
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Keywords: sustainability, recycling, composting, system change
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