Walk along any busy urban street and you’ll see them: takeaway coffee cups dancing merrily up and down, carried by humans in a hurry.
Thinking back a few years, it’s staggering how readily Australians moved from sitting down for a coffee break in a china cup to grabbing coffee in a single use takeaway cup.There were a few protests about taste, but convenience won the battle to the extent that today some cafés only use takeaway cups.
Consequently, we are presented with a staggering fact: Australians throw away about three billion takeaway cups every year. Planet Ark says that about 60,000 kilograms of plastic waste from coffee cups is directed to landfill each year in Australia,where it can take about 50 years to break down. (Choice)
Paper drink cups can’t be recycled with other recyclables because of their polyethylene (plastic) waterproof lining for fear of contaminating the load. Most cups and lids end up in landfill or, worse still, in our oceans, where they break up into smaller pieces called microplastics, finding their way into the food chain and back into our bodies. While there’s growing concern about human consumption of microplastics, their full effects are not yet known.
So, how can we drink coffee more responsibly?
Choice presents us with two responsible alternatives:
- Take a coffee break. Sit down and enjoy your coffee in a ceramic or glass cup. If you must do takeaway, skip the lid and bin the cup. Don’t recycle it.
- BYO. Break the norm and bring your own cup – glass, ceramic or reusable plastic. While it might take a few uses to break even cost-wise, you’ll be doing the environment a huge favour.
Madisons at the Oasis is one of several cafés on the Gold Coast to join the trend of promoting use of ceramic cups as well as ‘keep cups’. Owner Lincoln Testa says that it’s a win for café owners as well as for customers and the environment:
“We sell branded keep cups for $12 to $14, depending on size. Customers who buy a keep cup get their first coffee free and a 50-cent discount on each cup from then on. Not only is it good for the environment, but it also cuts waste, is good economically for the café and customer and encourages customer loyalty,” he says.
Live on the northside of town? Then Box Coffee Co has a similar scheme.
Let’s all go ‘retro’ and do our bit to combat the #waronwaste
Madison’s Café, The Oasis, Broadbeach Ph: 07 5592 6933