Last May, we set ourselves a goal – to cut our single use cup waste in half by the end of May 2018, and one year on, the results are in. We hit 47% – a ‘most- improved-award’ worthy jump from where we started at 6%, but a bloody long way to go to 100% should we come to set ourselves that doozy of a goal.
So one year and glut of lessons later, we wanted to say a really big thank you and share how our cups initiative stacked up.
THE AIM : Reduce disposable takeaway cup usage across our retail outlets by 50%
THE OUTCOME: We reduced disposable takeaway cup usage by 47%.
THE BREAKDOWN: Carriageworks – 70%, Surry Hills – 43%, CBD – 30%
Okay, so we didn’t hit the HALF, but one thing’s for sure – all of those little steps really do amount to something.
THE FUTURE: Keep making beautiful coffee. (If the planet allows it. That’s another story – stay tuned.) On the waste front, we’ll keep amping up our efforts; it’s something we couldn’t help but put our caffeinated energy towards since day one. From the co-creation of The Juggler & installation of solar panels on our Roastworks, to establishing a closed-loop production process, there’s no way to make these changes other than chipping away, one bit at a time.
Getting to 47% hasn’t all been smooth sailing. The challenges we’ve faced include everything from council crap and a manic free & reusable coffee event, to stolen mugs and frantic cup-washing at Carriageworks. Not to mention failed bamboo cup trials and an endless search for single-use cup recycling and composting services. But our efforts have paid off, even if they’ve fallen short of our goal, & every moment has been worth it.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED:
What can you do to cut waste as a barista or café owner?
1. Create the right environment! It’s all about helping customers break their habits & form new ones. Since installing a magazine rack on our short stay bar at Surry Hills, customers have turned up a little earlier to enjoy their brew over an article. The success at Carriageworks stems from a slower pace and contained area; it’s perfect for lingering over a brew. That and our awesome team of dishwashing demons, who’ve managed to charm almost every customer over to a ceramic cup!
2. Suggest a sustainable option. “Half of it is in the sell,” says barista Dan. “You’ve really got to offer the better option first. A simple ‘Is a ceramic cup okay for this one?’ goes a long way […]. People are more likely to go with the first thing they’re offered.”
3. Make sure people know. Put it up on social, put it on a sign. Don’t be afraid to open up the discussion! Barista Oli says, “If someone new chooses one of the better options, I like to respond with ‘Thanks for giving a shit! This one’s on us’ and have a chat about it.”
“I like to remind people that they can bring any mug from home,” Dan says. “We don’t mind; we’ll pour your coffee into anything!” Well, almost anything.
4. Look for other methods. Metal straws, tap water, compost bins and The Juggler – if you haven’t yet made the switch. You can’t convince everyone to make a change but there are other ways in.
And as a consumer?
1. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already made the switch, so the next step is to rally your crew. Give your friends a nudge, keep an extra cup on your desk for your forgetful colleague or suggest meeting at the café instead of sending the intern out to do the rounds.
2. Forget your reusable cup? We’ve been there, that’s why we invented short stay coffee! Instead of resorting to a single use cup, make a moment out of it. Have that chin wag with your colleague along the coffee bar instead of downing your drink en route to work or use the time to catch up on the morning news.
3. Check out your alternatives. Chat to your barista about reusable options, and find one that suits you both. Why not find a nook or cranny to enjoy your version of a short stay coffee?
4. Don’t discount your impact! You know the drill, people. Every time you swap clothing online, chuck your groceries in a tote, or give an item a second life, you’re helping make a change. The same goes for your coffee habits. Every time you go reusable and say no to single use cups, you’re making a difference.
A bloody big thanks to all the conscious consumers for helping us prove that change is possible, and for rallying alongside us as we keep moving forward! We’ll hand it to ya.