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Coffee Cup Waste


By Karen Bowley, Wodonga Albury Toward Climate Health (WATCH) and member of Wooragee Landcare

Still looking for Christmas presents?  Read on for a great idea that is not only chic but good for the environment as well.

Do you love a coffee?  Most Australians it seems love their coffee so much that over 3 billion takeaway cups and lids are thrown away very year and most are never recycled.

People seem to think that takeaway coffee cups are recycled, but in fact they are rarely composted due to inadequate industrial composting  facilities and the difficulty of getting the cups/lids there.   Watch the War on Waste on ABC TV for all the gory details.

This is another sad case of single use items that our society throws away and usually ends up on our beaches, rivers and roads.  To help us reduce our waste,  give a stylish reusable cup to your friends and relatives for Christmas this year.  There are Keep Cups or other numerous brands that make colourful, light and re-sealable cups for you to use in your car or office, in place of disposable cups.  They come in glass or plastic.  Be careful if you buy a glass one as they are easily broken if you are clumsy like me, and drop it on the floor.

Or encourage them to take their own familiar mug or the mug you have bought them for Christmas, to their favourite cafe.  Some cafes, like Saint Monday in Yackandandah, are making great progress in doing away with disposable cups completely.  They are providing a borrow-and-bring-back mug library for their customers to use, to help them develop good habits.

Other cafes are encouraging the use of reusable cups by giving discounts to those who use them.  They are known as Responsible Cafes.  Go to www.responsiblecafes.org for information on how to encourage your local cafes to join, such as by starting a conversation with your local cafe and telling them how they can be part of the solution and/or tell your Council to join the program and to roll it our locally.  It is in everyone’s interest to do so.  You can find a Responsible Cafe near you by going to their website and if there isn’t one, recruit one.

Or like me you could challenge your work colleagues to never use a disposable cup again.  Be the change you want to see.