Although France is leading the world, having implemented its Energy Transition for Green Growth legislation in 2015, with subsequent legislation in 2016 that will ban single use cups by 2020, in Australia single use coffee cup waste reduction is also very in vogue, following some excellent public awareness campaigns such as the ABC’s War on Waste series.
Single use coffee cups in a cafe, many of which are destined for landfill
I’ve seen the effect of this in our office in the past 12 months where our company purchased reusable coffee cups for everyone and we have been actively encouraging each other to bring them when going out for our morning coffee.
We have also been campaigning for cafes around our office to discount coffee if you bring a reusable cup. This not only encourages patrons to bring their own cup because they get a discount, but also reduces the cafe’s costs as they use less single-use cups; not to mention the benefits to the environment.
As a consistent user of reusable coffee cups for more than 10 years, I’ve seen campaigns to get staff to use reusable cups in the past. Following initial successes, people reverted to their old behaviours of getting a single use cup at the cafe, but this time it feels different.
Whereas in the past reusable cups were given out in the office and people used them because they could, this time, everyone is acutely aware of the environmental impact of the estimated 1 billion single-use cups that we use in Australia annually, so they are more inclined to use the cups because they should do so.
Still, there will always be people who don’t like reusable cups for whatever reason, or others who forget to bring their cup with them to the cafe. For these times, there is a solution…
Originally a UK initiative, Simply Cups came to Australia in 2016 and provides single-use cup recycling via dedicated collection tubes, meaning that the cups never mix with other commingle recycling. Their recycling process separates the plastic liner from the paper cup, allowing both to be recycled separately.
There are publicly available tubes at many 7-Elevens and other locations (a search is available on the Simply Cups website), although these are not meant as drop off locations for businesses; rather they are for individuals’ use. 7-Eleven tubes can be used for cups not purchased at 7-Eleven too.
Simply Cups collection tubes at my local 7-Eleven
It is also possible to get these tubes in your office or workplace, though at time of writing, a minimum of 4 tubes need to be purchased and the minimum collection frequency is monthly (as well as weekly and fortnightly), so for smaller offices like ours (about 25 people) it is not practical or affordable to use the service: with our current level of reusable cup usage, we would at best need a collection every 4 months and the cups would need to be stored in a 240l bin in the interim.
Based on my calculations, businesses with 100+ staff would be able to benefit from using Simply Cups, even with moderate reusable cup uptake.
Simply Cups are currently working on a solution for smaller businesses like ours, which I’ll update on this blog post once available.
If you are interested to find out more about Simply Cups and whether their service would suit your workplace, they provide a contact page where you can email or call them.