Thompson Rivers University

Be the change: one reusable cup and bottle at a time

August 23, 2019

Just like in this picture, attach a Fill It Forward sticker to your cup or bottle, and start scanning using the Fill It Forward app.

 If you’re not using a reusable mug or water bottle, Canyon Sinclair asks, “Why not?”

As part of his summer and fall co-op work term with the TRU Sustainability Office, the fourth-year economics student is leading an ambitious project to reduce the number of disposable cups and bottles used on campus in September by 20,000.

Called the Fill It Forward Challenge, you track your progress using your phone and the Fill It Forward app. Every time you use a reusable bottle or cup, open the app and scan the barcode on any of the specially-printed stickers. Participation also puts you in the running for a variety of prizes to be awarded daily, weekly and for the month.

Challenge rules and everything else you need to know

“Maybe it’s a localized impact, but by diverting all that waste, we’re not encouraging producers to make more of their disposable products—we’re discouraging them, in fact. By reusing mugs and bottles everyone saves money, including the university,” Sinclair said.

Furthermore, every scan donates the equivalent of one cup of water to a charity through TRU’s partnership with Cupanion and that organization’s Fill It Forward program.

The challenge ties into the three spokes that sustainability has evolved into—environment, people and fiscal responsibility—while lining up with TRU’s recognition as a global leader in sustainability as presented by the STARS tracking system.

“If someone says, ‘Why should I bring my own cup or bottle,’ the question I pose is, ‘Why not?’”

How to participate in Fill It Forward Challenge

Download the Fill It Forward app from your app store, get yourself one or more Fill It Forward stickers available around campus and scan the barcode every time you use a reusable cup or bottle. If you don’t want to be stuck using one cup or bottle and it’s more convenient, carry the sticker around with you in your wallet, phone wallet or purse.

Your app is allowed 10 scans a day and one every 30 minutes. You can scan more than one sticker.

There are two colour-coded stickers—teal for reusable bottles and navy blue for reusable mugs or cups—Sinclair encourages you to use the appropriate barcode, but if you can’t, that is okay too because for this challenge, the main thing is to encourage reusing and participation.

 That’s it. It’s that easy.  

“Hopefully, the impact can be lasting, and not just for the month of September,” Sinclair said, adding, “If half the people who participate in our challenge continue to scan their barcodes and continue to use their reusables, then that’s a number of people who have developed a green habit and are not buying a cup when they go to the coffee shop, or aren’t getting a disposable water bottle.”

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