11 Jul 2018

Brisbane leads country in stopping coffee cups from going into landfill

Brisbane is leading the nation in reducing the number of coffee cups that end up in landfill, with the River City having the highest number of businesses registered with Responsible Cafes.

Cafes sign up with the organisation for free and are encouraged to offer an incentive, such as a discount, free upgrade or complimentary treat, to customers who bring their own reusable cups.

Responsible Cafes operations manager Rachel Draper said the organisation had started in 2013 but gained momentum after featuring on the ABC's War on Waste documentary series last year.

The number of cafes involved nationally jumped from about 400 before the program aired to about 3750 this year.

"It's the simple idea of changing one habit, it's not daunting and people can relate with the coffee drinking culture," Ms Draper said.

"We now encourage cafes to offer at least a 20¢ discount and we have a map on our website where customers find the nearest cafe to them which offers a discount for reusable cups.

"Some cafes might offer a free upgrade, an extra stamp on their loyalty card or a free cookie or chocolate, the incentive is up to the individual cafes.

"But over 70 per cent of registered cafes are offering a 50¢ discount or more."

New data released by Responsible Cafes showed the highest proportion of cafes involved with the organisation were based in the Brisbane City Council area.

Brisbane was leading the way with 226 registered cafes, City of Sydney was second with 149 and Melbourne City was third with 109.

"Brisbane is definitely a way ahead," Ms Draper said.

"I'm not surprised, Brisbane City Council did a big campaign in May and gave 100 cafes some free reusable cups.

"The cafes could choose to give the cups to their most loyal customers or do a competition and they also gave out information on Responsible Cafes.

"I definitely noticed all of those registrations coming from Brisbane and we hope to work with Brisbane City Council for another campaign."

The Responsible Cafes organisation was responsible for an average of 35.2 coffee cups per registered cafe being saved from landfill each day across Australia, based on recent figures.

Ms Draper said cafes reported a 117 per cent increase in reusable cup usage and the organisation estimated it had saved 46 million coffee cups from landfill since it started five years ago.

Mia Pallier, owner of Two Charming Finches cafe in the north Brisbane suburb of Mitchelton, said her business had registered with Responsible Cafes and gone a step further by not using plastic.

"We have obliterated plastic here, we have no plastic straws, cutlery, bags or takeaway containers," she said.

The Mitchelton business also signed up for Plastic Free July and promised to give customers a free hot drink every Saturday this month, if they collect a bucket of rubbish from their local area.

"It's just a cool way to educate people on keeping plastic usage to a minimum, they get a free coffee and get to clean up the street at the same time. It's a fun way to do things," Ms Pallier said.

"Brisbane is pretty good, I have noticed straws and balloons are being banned at events as well. It's like a big country town, where people care and it is a greener area for it."

In May, Brisbane City Council committed to banning plastic straws, single-use plastic bottles and helium balloons.

Ms Draper said biodegradable cups were not a complete solution to the landfill problem. She said they need to be taken to a special recycling facility where the plastic and paper could be separated.

However, an Australian company's potential solution to the recycling problem was expected to be available across Queensland in September.

The Detpak RecycleMe program consists of takeaway coffee cups that feature an innovative lining that can be easily removed from the paper to ensure the cups can be recycled locally.

"We’ve been looking for a long-term solution for takeaway coffee cups and believe the RecycleMe

program is one step closer to contributing to global environmental change," Detpak marketing and innovation manager Tom Lunn said.

"As a nation, we lack local recycling infrastructure to convert waste into reusable raw materials, which means significant amounts of recyclable materials are being dumped in landfill or being held in storage until a local recycling solution becomes available."

SOURCE ; https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/brisbane-leads-country-in-stopping-coffee-cups-from-going-into-landfill-20180701-p4zovp.html

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