As part of a sustainability drive to be greener, Atlantic Technological University (ATU) campuses at Sligo and Letterkenny have made significant changes by “greening” canteen facilities.
ATU has committed to eliminating single-use items on Sligo and Letterkenny campuses and to significantly increase waste recycling levels.
As a result of implementing the initiative, the Sligo campus canteen has reduced general waste by 50%, increased recyclable waste levels to 75% (hitting 2030 targets), and has seen 200,000 single-use items eliminated.
The move is part of the University’s ongoing efforts to promote environmental sustainability and reduce its carbon footprint. The elimination of paper cups, the introduction of 2GoCups, and the removal of all bins from the Foodcourt have all been key components of the change journey.
The students, faculty, and staff are also encouraged to take individual actions to reduce their plastic usage by bringing their own reusable coffee cups and water bottles to work. Ceramic mugs are also available on-campus as an alternative.
Michael O’Hehir, owner of O’Hehir’s Bakery and operator of canteen facilities on both campuses, said he is delighted to lead this as part of a business-wide ‘Green mission’ for O’Hehir’s.
“We are very pleased with the positive impact these changes have had. The ownership and commitment from our team in the ATU and the support from all our stakeholders have been incredible and encourage us to continue this journey.”
Dr Orla Flynn, President of ATU, says that eliminating single-use plastics is a significant step toward creating a more sustainable future for the broader community.
“We have a responsibility to protect the environment for future generations, and this includes reducing our waste across all our campuses. The university’s commitment to sustainability has already received positive feedback from students, staff, and the wider community and we should be proud that we are part of the growing movement towards a more sustainable future. Our next step will be supporting all our campuses to build on these good practices.”
Student Dylan Murphy, part of the Green Campus Initiative at ATU Sligo, says it is fantastic to see reusable cups.
“The implementation of 2GoCups was delayed due to Covid so it’s fantastic to see it come to fruition. It is a simple step to less waste on campus, without stopping anyone from taking a hot beverage to go. Win-win.”