Fill it Forward

Overview:

Fill it Forward is an initiative on the University of Calgary campus to help mitigate use of plastic water bottles and single- use coffee cups. The encouraged use of reusable mugs and coffee cups will lead to a decrease in single-use waste around campus. The program is presented by Cupanion, a B-Corp with the idea to help promote sustainable development through Fill It Forward. With the Fill It Forward Sticker and App, users can track how much waste they have saved by scanning their personal sticker every time they reuse a coffee mug or water bottle. Each scan tells users how much waste, plastic, power, emissions, and land has been saved from choosing a reusable option. On top of this, each scan helps build a water project in developing nations around the globe.

The Fill It Forward App shows the user their impact of sustainable choices at a campus wide level as well. Every time the UCalgary specific sticker is scanned, it shows how many times the app has been scanned, as well as the overall impact that University of Calgary students and staff are making at an institutional level. Data gathered can be used to further the university’s commitment to sustainability, especially through waste reduction. Fill it Forward has made students and staff more aware of the importance of using a reusable cup by demonstrating how wasteful single-use cups and bottles are.

Raising awareness is an essential part of ensuring that more students and staff at the University know about Fill it Forward’s initiatives. The Office of Sustainability Peer Helper group ensured that outreach was made possible to the UCalgary community. The Peer Helper group ran awareness booths as well as used social media to promote the Fill It Forward initiative around campus. The booths included statistics about Fill it Forward data on campus, information about the program and its initiatives, as well free giveaways to incentivize individuals to partake in the program.

Outcomes:

  • Program raised awareness about the importance of single use cups around campus, as well as encouraged students to purchase and use reusable mugs.
  • Reoccurring monthly data suggests how many users are actively using Fill it Forward around campus.
  • More users were added to the Fill It Forward data base around campus as a result of campus outreach booths.

Next Steps:

  • Finding alternate sources of funding so that the following projects can be funded for the next Fill it Forward peer helper outreach team:
    • Monthly/Bi-Weekly giveaways of sustainable items, in a manner that encourages students to participate in the Fill it Forward program.
    • Ensuring Engagement booths have incentives for students and staff to approach and take interest in Fill it Forward. This can be done using coffee or snacks, as well as sustainable giveaways such as reusable straws, etc.
    • Using a portion of the funds to promote Fill it Forward around campus through social media campaigns as well as posters.
    • Ensuring that advertising for outreach booths is professional, investing in a pull up banner with Fill It Forward branding for booths and events
    • Future collaboration with sustainability events, businesses and clubs on-and-off campus to ensure that Fill it Forward’s outreach is maximized.