The City of Cockburn has joined the battle against waste caused by disposable coffee cups by encouraging local cafes to join the ‘Responsible Cafes’ movement.
Several cafes in Cockburn have signed up to the Responsible Cafes initiative which encourages cafes to provide an incentive to their customers to use their own cups by offering a small discount (usually 20c to $1).
The aim of the initiative is to reduce the amount of disposable hot drink cups being used in Australia where consumers use more than 3 billion of the cups and lids every year.
But because these cups are lined with plastic, recycling them in Australia can be problematic.
Responsible Cafes founder Justin Bonsey said recycling was difficult because there were too many different kinds of cups for a standardised recycling process.
City of Cockburn Waste Education Officer Nicki Ledger said the City’s recycling contractor Suez processes disposable cups that are put in the yellow-lidded recycling bins.
“Disposable cups are lined with a thin film of plastic to make them waterproof,” Miss Ledger said.
“In the City of Cockburn, the paper cup is recycled but the plastic lining cannot be recycled and is sent to landfill. Plastic lids are recycled.
“The Responsible Cafes program is a great way to raise awareness about reducing disposable items going straight into the bin after a single use.
“Cafés that sign up will be helping make the City of Cockburn cleaner, greener and more sustainable”.
Mr Bonsey said cafes had a major role to play as change-makers in the community.
“We are in the midst of the biggest shift away from disposable coffee cups in our generation as there are now nearly 3,000 cafes across Australia offering a discount to people with a BYO coffee cup – and it’s growing by the day,” he said.
Cafes keen to make a difference can sign up at www.responsiblecafes.or
g to get free downloadable promotional materials and be listed on a searchable map of participating cafes visited by over a million people per year.
They can also collect promotional materials from the City of Cockburn administration centre at Coleville Crescent, Spearwood.
The movement has grown rapidly following the ABC TV’s War on Waste series in May. Most cafes offer between 50c and $1 off but cafes can choose whatever discount suits them best.
Based on surveys targeting over 100 responsible cafes, they are saving an average 27.8 cups a day, or nearly 11,000 a year just by offering a discount.
Newly registered cafes have reported a 117% increase in customers who use their own cups. It is estimated that participating cafes are saving a combined 30 million cups and lids a year from going to waste.