Fraternities participate in recycling cup initiative

| Contributing Reporter

In a sustainability initiative aiming to produce less waste at parties, several fraternities and other student groups have joined together in an effort to use recyclable cups instead of red Solo cups.

The recyclable cup initiative, dubbed “YOLO No Solo” by its founders, launched last weekend. Junior Sarah Greenberg, sophomore Hannah Schanzer and junior Ingrid Archibald have been working since fall 2016—joined by sophomore Harrison Banner this semester—to get fraternities specifically to abandon the iconic red Solo cup in favor of clear, sustainable cups.

In order to promote sustainability, fraternities around campus moved towards using recyclable solo cups at their events. Many student groups have also pledged to be involved in the program.Cate Jiang | Student Life

In order to promote sustainability, fraternities around campus moved towards using recyclable solo cups at their events. Many student groups have also pledged to be involved in the program.

The red Solo cup is made out of #6 plastic, which is non-recyclable. A shift to the clear cup, made out of #1 plastic, is not only more environmentally friendly, but also saves almost 50 percent over Solo cups.

“A lot of the [frats] were interested, and we’re waiting for a few to get back to us about whether they’re going to continue, but we have high hopes,” Schanzer said.

Last weekend, three fraternities tested out the new cups: Beta Theta Pi, Kappa Sigma and Alpha Delta Phi. According to Schanzer, a total of seven fraternities have already agreed to test out the initiative.

Bob Liu, a senior and member of Kappa Sigma, first heard of the initiative last semester through a club called Net Impact, which works closely with the Office of Sustainability. He joined the committee leading the initiative and began talking with members of his own fraternity, as well as others, about making the switch to clear cups.

“Within a week of kicking off the campaign, we had seven fraternities agree to use these cups, which was pretty cool,” Liu said.

Although the initiative has been generally well-received, Schanzer said the new cups mark a transition from the red Solo cup, considered by many to be a college tradition.

“Pretty much everyone has been on board and excited so far, but it’s also been hard because red Solo cups are so ingrained in our culture, and [they are] such a staple of frat parties or college parties in general,” she said.

Liu agreed that red Solo cups are ubiquitous at college parties, which makes the transition more difficult.

“[The clear cup initiative] had a little opposition, but most people didn’t feel too strongly either way. It’s a really neat conversation starter, and in the end, it really was cool because the idea was that everyone does want to do some good,” Liu said after Kappa Sigma’s first party with recyclable cups.

Schanzer and Banner are also trying to extend the initiative beyond Greek organizations, and they have already reached out to multiple student groups who throw parties and social events. So far, Contraband, a club Frisbee team, and Cast n’ Crew, a student theater group, have both joined in on the effort to reduce waste through the use of recyclable cups.

Editor’s Note: Associate Editor Wesley Jenkins is a member of Beta Theta Pi.

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