Wrexham graduate designs reusable cup to encourage reduction in single-use waste 

Date: Thursday, December 7, 2023

A Wrexham University graduate and artist has designed the artwork for a reusable cup, which is being distributed to students, in a bid to reduce the number of single-use cups on campus.

Olivia Horner, who graduated this summer after studying Illustration, was selected to create a design for the Huskup produced cups, and decided to take inspiration from the Communal Garden, located on the Wrexham campus.

Her design features colourful flowers from the garden, as well as bumble bees and hedgehogs, against a neutral backdrop.

The aim of developing the new cups is to stop students and staff using disposable cups and switch to reusable alternatives.

In recent years, the University, in partnership with its catering provider Aramark, introduced a 20p surcharge to all hot beverages served in disposable cups across its campuses – waived if students, staff and visitors bring their own cup. 

The idea behind introducing the 20p penalty for disposable cups is to encourage everyone to adopt a more sustainable approach to waste management, reduce waste and cut the amount of money the University has to spend on waste management, so that funds can be invested into other resources.

Huskup, the company producing the reusable cups use a natural by-product of the rice harvest – the rice husk instead of plastic. Melamine and bisphenol A free, the Huskup can last for years if treated well and will simply biodegrade at the end of its life. 

Olivia, who is now Designer in Residence at the institution’s Wrexham School of Art and founder of her own illustration and surface pattern design business Livlet Ink, said she feels proud to have been involved in a project, which encourages sustainability.

“I was delighted to have had my design chosen for the reusable cups – especially because the cups help the University cut waste and aim to encourage everyone to do their bit for the environment,” she said.

“I think what makes the cups even more special and unique is that I took inspiration from campus to develop the artwork design – during the spring and summer months, the Communal Garden onsite is absolutely stunning, brimming with beautiful flowers and wildlife. I also decided to incorporate hedgehogs into the design because Wrexham is a Hedgehog Friendly Campus.”

The cups, which have been generously funded by Wrexham Students’ Union, have been distributed to students living in the Wrexham Village halls of residence, as well as to students who are taking part in the University’s Nature Based Social Prescribing’ project.

Back, Oyindamola Itiola, Catering Assistant at Aramark Ltd. Front, from left, Carrie Bennett, Wrexham Students’ Union Membership Project Coordinator; and Olivia Horner.

Carrie Bennett, Wrexham Students’ Union Membership Project Coordinator, who was the driving force behind securing funding for the cups, said: “Speaking on behalf of the Students’ Union, I feel enormously proud that we have been able to help part-fund the cups, which will make a big difference in the amount of waste that the University produces.

“I know that the students, who have received the cups absolutely love them – Olivia’s done an amazing job on the design of them. We distributed them to students living in Wrexham Village as part of a special nature event held on campus. We hope that when it’s a bit warmer, students will enjoy a drink in their cups in our lovely outdoor areas on campus.”

Jenny Thomas, Health, Safety and Environmental Manager at Wrexham University, added: “A huge well done to both Olivia and the Students’ Union for driving this excellent initiative forward and making it happen. The cups will encourage students to bring them on campus, rather than use single-use cups.

“The introduction of these cups is just one of many schemes we have rolled out to drive positive change and sustainability, which is at the heart of everything that we do, here in Wrexham.”

You can keep up-to-date on Olivia’s works via her website, online shop and social media channels, which can be found here: