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Plastic Free Cafe Opens at University College Cork

KSG Catering has launched Ireland's first plastic free café, on the grounds of University College Cork.

Located on the UCC campus in the Biosciences Institute, the Bio Green Café was refurbished in August 2018 and the café officially opened as Ireland’s first plastic free café on Tuesday September 11th.

KSG in collaboration with UCC and the UCC Green Campus Committee has installed and implemented a number of sustainability practices for the café operation as part of this pilot project. The goal of the project is to totally eliminate all variants of single use plastic in a UCC campus café.

All plastic drink bottles have been removed from the café, replaced with glass bottles and cans; all disposable cutlery has been removed; all plastic sauce sachets have been removed; hot beverages will no be served in ceramic mugs; no plastic wrapped convenience snacks are available in the café; and the café is promoting UCC Keep Cups for take away options.

On the supply side, fresh vegetables and produce are delivered daily from the University farm along with produce supplied by local producer Waterfall Farms in Curraheen – vegetables are delivered with no wrapping in long life containers which are returned to the supplier each day. Chicken, ham and cheese are sourced from suppliers in the English Market and these products are also delivered with no wrapping in reusable return containers.

Customer feedback will continue to be monitored over the coming months and KSG and UCC will assess the possibility of extending the initiative across the campus in 2019. KSG and UCC are also aiming to encourage environmental awareness and to change behaviours across the campus.

Michael Gleeson, CEO of KSG, said: “It has been great to work on this project in collaboration with UCC and both students and staff have embraced the changes in a really positive way. It feels like we have made a significant step forward in turning things around and reducing plastic use on campus.”

Patrick O’Shea, UCC President, said: “It was once said that that there was ‘a great future in plastics’. Now we know that a sustainable future must judiciously use renewable and sustainable resources. We are delighted to partner with KSG to develop the Bio Green Café for our students and staff, and as a model for a sustainable future for all."

Professor John O’Halloran, Deputy President and Chair of the Green Campus Forum UCC, added: “UCC is delighted to be part of this latest pioneering initiative on removing plastic from our restaurants at University College Cork. Our partnership with KSG has been both transformative and critical in working with our students and staff in advancing sustainability, one of our key values.”

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