Canberra coffee shops have been put on notice: back the new reusable cup scheme launched on Wednesday or face a ban on plastic-lined, single-use cups next year.
Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction Chris Steel threw down the challenge at Gather in Braddon, saying the government has held off taking a tougher approach to see if the free Green Cafeen ‘swap-and-go’ model takes hold.
More than 70 Canberra cafes have signed up to the scheme started by Damien Clarke and Martin Brooks, which allows customers to order their coffee in a reusable cup that can be returned to any participating cafe.
“We know we need to stop single-use coffee cups going into our waste stream and contaminating it, particularly with the COAG ban on exporting cardboard and paper coming up [at end of 2020],” Mr Steel said.
“The more cafes involved the easier it will be for people to do the right thing but we’re not ruling out a ban if cafes don’t sign up.”
The Government had partnered with Green Cafeen and bought thousands of specially CBR-branded cups made from recycled plastic to be used as part of the swap and go scheme.
“We need to make the environmental solution as easy as possible and that’s what the ‘swap and go’ system offers,” Mr Steel said.
The figures are as mind-boggling as some of the espressos around town: Australia goes through 50,000 cups of coffee every half hour and an estimated one billion disposable coffee cups every year.
Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said the goal was for every cafe in Canberra to be a part of what was a convenient and easy-to-use scheme.
“Register on the Green Caffeen app, see if your local cafe is part of the scheme and order your next coffee in a reusable cup. The cafes will even take care of the washing up before the cups go back into rotation,” he said.
He said there was no excuse for a cafe not joining the scheme.
Gather owner William Fisher already offers a keep-cup discount and uses reusable glass bottles and recycled packaging so joining Green Cafeen was a no-brainer.
“We already think in a similar way to these guys and they’ve made it even easier,” he said. “We signed up on the internet as soon as we heard about. We think it will go well and we’ll definitely be encouraging it.”