Takeaway coffees have become an important part of many people’s lives. Stand outside a café at any time of the day and there will be a steady stream of people leaving carrying a takeaway cup of coffee. One of our local Māngere Bridge cafés estimate they go through 200+ cups each day. About 70,000 each year for one café. That’s a lot! It’s estimated that throughout NZ more than 295 million single-use cups are used each year. That’s a huge pile of waste hitting our landfill each year, as these cups are generally not compostable. There are a lot of claims about compostable cups but the jury is still out. There are few compostable cups and even fewer places that can compost them successfully.
People have been working hard to find alternatives. Reusable cups – “keep cups” – are one attempt to reduce the number of single-use cups. Sarah, a MB local is a keen recycler. She says “It takes effort to use keep cups. I get 3 takeaway coffees a week and now I keep 3 keep cups in my car, rotating them and taking them into the house to wash and return to the car. I have about a 75% success rate. It’s a work in progress I guess. It took time for everyone to get used to bringing their bags to the supermarket – now its automatic. We’ll probably get better at it!”
Some cafes provide a ‘wash up’ station for keep cups. Other cafes have a ‘boomerang scheme’ – a pool of keep cups that customers pay a refundable bond for. A few cafes refuse to provide single use cups and instead offer regulars a china mug, or encourage them to stay in the café and enjoy their coffee. Z Petrol stations, McDonald’s and BP’s Wild Bean offer a discount to customers bringing a keep cup. You could encourage your favourite café to give you a discount for bringing your keep cup.
Friends of the Farm Māngere Bridge now have keep cups with their “It’s all about Māngere Bridge” logo on them, gifted to most of our Repair Café and Wastewise volunteers, trying to change behaviour in our ‘hood.
If everyone used a keep cup just once a week it would make a difference. People power!
Come on, you can do it….