We are committed to managing our impact on the local and global environment by embedding sustainability across the University. That is why we have been working to identify how we can reduce the waste generated from plastic bottles consumed across our Whiteknights and London Road campuses – currently around 650,000 bottles a year!

We are pleased to announce the launch this week of our new Sustain It bottle, which you will see in a range of our catering outlets from Thursday 14 September. The bottle uses innovative technology to offer a customisable range of drinks, in a reusable bottle. We are the first university outside of the United States to introduce this model and look forward to seeing its impact, both on reducing our plastic waste, and being able to offer students and staff an increased range of drink options.

How does it work?

The Sustain It bottle contains a RFID chip that allows you to pre-pay for drinks, choosing from different payment options as outlined below. The bottle is designed to pair up with a new range of Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, offering well over 100 varieties and customisable mixes – the majority being zero and low calorie options. This is our largest selection of healthier drinks to date.

Making a customised drink is simple – when paired with the Freestyle App, you can design and save your desired mix and order at the machine using a QR code within the app. Filtered water will also be available for free at each Freestyle machine, allowing you to refill any container with water at no cost.

The Freestyle machines use a concentrated mixture as the base for a wide selection of flavours. The concentrates are packaged in cartridges that can be sent by courier instead of traditional delivery by lorry. By switching to this delivery method, the University will reduce traffic on campus and environmental effects by taking more delivery lorries off the roads.

How much does it cost?

The Sustain It bottle costs £9.95, which includes two free refills of soft drinks. You can then purchase additional refills in either multiples of 10 (£12) or unlimited refills for the whole term (£39.95).

If you would prefer not to purchase the bottle, you can pay £1.60 for a recyclable paper cup, which includes one drink. Alternatively, bottled drinks will still be available to purchase from non-participating catering outlets on campus, including the new Co-op store.

Filtered water is available for free at all Freestyle machines, using any bottle.

Where can I buy or refill a bottle?

The bottle is available to purchase at Park Eat, Eat at the Square, The Dairy, Wantage Hall and Eat at Northcourt (St. Patrick’s Hall). These outlets have all been fitted with the Freestyle refill machines. You can also pre-order a bottle at our online store.

Future plans

With the exception of water bottles, the University is planning to gradually phase out the sale of plastic bottles following the introduction of the Sustain It bottle and Freestyle machines. Plastic bottles will continue to be available in retailers across campus, including the new Co-op at Whiteknights campus. It is expected that the number of bottles used is likely to be much lower as a result of the new machines replacing bottled drinks.

We will collect data to see how the new system is being used and keep it under review. There are opportunities for the model to be expanded for the future, including the introduction of different sized bottles and the provision of hot drinks. A pilot for serving coffee in this way is planned to take place in the next year.

Let us know your thoughts

Share your feedback on the new Sustain It bottle and Freestyle machines on our dedicated Facebook page.