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Catering Team make single-use plastic changes

Changes to cutlery, plastic drinks bottles, cups and takeaway containers

NTU's Plastic Planet campaign visual

In 2017/18, 168,750 individual items of plastic cutlery and 182,774 soft drinks were purchased in plastic bottles by NTU Catering. Across the UK 7,000,000 coffee cups are thrown away each day …Less than 1% are recycled.

Here at Nottingham Trent we want to make a change to the amount of single use plastic being thrown away and the catering team have been on a mission to help make that change. Read on to learn about some of the changes that you will see within the NTU catering outlets:


All of the takeaway cutlery available will now be made of a corn starch based alternative which is up to 68% carbon neutral and therefore has a much lower carbon footprint than the polystyrene plastic standard cutlery. The new cutlery is 100% biodegradable and suitable for food waste recycling, however whilst we are working on the waste streams please continue to place cutlery into the general waste bins or save it until next lunchtime!

Plastic drinks bottles:

You may have noticed that you can no longer purchase a soft drink in a plastic bottle from the NTU outlets, this is because they have all been replaced with canned drinks. From the stacking and packing for the transportation of the product through to the closed-loop recycling process, we think aluminium cans can help us to minimise that single use plastic impact at the university. NTU Catering are currently reviewing the bottled water provision with a view to sourcing a more eco-friendly alternative.

Water fountains:

Once you have purchased your eco–to-go reusable cup or your refillable water bottle you’ll be wanting to know where you can fill them up, you can find a map of water fountains on the webpage - 4 new stations have already been installed this year. If you forget your refillable, don’t worry you can always purchase a cardboard cup from the catering outlets for a small 5p charge - these cardboard cups have replaced plastic cups that were freely available.

Hot drinks:

All tea and coffee outlets will be adding a surcharge for a single use hot drink cup, whilst we have changed to a fully recyclable cup we’d love to see everyone reusing their cups.

Take away containers:

If you are having a grab and go meal, catering have got this covered too, polystyrene takeaway food containers have been replaced with a plant/sugar based product 100% Biodegradable Takeaway Container. Like the cutlery we are reviewing our waste streams to manage this in the most effective cycle so for now we ask you to use general waste.

As you can see there is lots that has been done and there is lots more to be working on. Some NTU staff and students have already fed back to the teams telling us how ‘thrilled to see biodegradable cutlery’ and fully supportive of the cup levy they are. We'd love to hear about what you think and how we can make any further improvements, contact with your feedback.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418