CBD cafes have joined the fight to reduce the number of disposable coffee cups by offering a discount for customers who use a reusable cup.
The reusable cups, often called “keep cups”, are now sold at many CBD cafes and shops, encouraging more people to enjoy coffee in a more sustainable way.
Non-profit organisation Tangaroa Blue Foundation has partnered with Seedling Cafe on Flinders Lane to offer an incentive for patrons who use a keep cup.
People who bring a reusable cup for their coffee at Seedling Cafe can get a 50 cent discount as part of the City of Melbourne Source Reduction Plan.
The cafe’s owner Giles Legg said he had seen a noticeably larger number of customers who use the eco-friendly cup instead of the unrecyclable, disposable cup since he signed up to the initiative.
“Now between 10 and 20 per cent of our customers use their own keep cup,” Mr Legg said.
“Being part of the initiative is a win-win for the customer and the business and it comes with great environmental benefits. It’s an all-round beneficial initiative.”
Mr Legg said he was delighted to see customers bring their own reusable cups from home.
“Keep cups are so popular now. Rather than going through multiple cups a day, many people now realise it’s environmentally sustainable to just use a keep cup,” he said.
“Having customers using keep cups is not a burden to us. It does not involve any extra work and people’s feedback has been super positive,” Mr Legg said.
Research shows Australian people use more than one billion of single-use coffee cups each year and 90 per cent of the cups end up in landfill because most have plastic lining that makes them unrecyclable.
Kate Arnold from Tangaroa Blue Foundation said the Responsible Cafes project, funded by the state government’s Litter Innovation Fund and supported by the City of Melbourne, had inspired people to do their own part in protecting the environment.
“It offers an incentive that enables people to contribute to the sustainability culture. People do not just think, but they also can also take action immediately,” she said.
Sustainability advocates Lourdes Sanchez and Zi Xie said the program could reduce plastic pollution.
“Plastic pollution in the marine environment is avoidable and we have the power to mitigate this problem by simply changing some of our consumer behaviours,” they said.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation is collecting responses to a survey that will provide more data about attitudes, behaviours and trends of reusable coffee cups.
The survey can be found here: exploretheworld.typeform.com/to/ImY19c