15 December 2019

Take up the green coffee cup or face ban, cafes warned

| Ian Bushnell
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Green Caffeen’s Damien Clarke; Recycling and Waste Reduction Minister Chris Steel and Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Shane Rattenbury, both with the specially designed green CBR cups; Gather coffee shop owner William Fisher; and Martin Brooks from Green Caffeen. Photo: Supplied.

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.”

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I won’t be giving my credit card or other details to a third party in order to buy a coffee. A scheme like this has to be anonymous, free and universal. No point otherwise. Forget it.

The app is only available to people over 18. How are 16-year-olds supposed to get coffees? Of more concern: there is no privacy covered in the terms and conditions. In other words, Green Caffeen will be free to pass any and all your information to Shane Rattenbury who, as a politician, is under no obligation to follow privacy regulations. There’s also nothing to stop Green Caffeen from reporting your location to cafes and other retail outlets. Let’s not fool ourselves; this is a datamining venture.

Um not free: “If you can’t drop your cup back to a participating café within 30 days, there’s a $12.99 fee to allow us to make sure there are enough cups for everyone to reuse.” Presumably users are required to hand over their credit card details or pay a hefty deposit.

What about bottled water and other drinks? About 100 times the plastic wasted as with straws. Rattenbury is avoiding the tough elements of this problem.

Have been using a white ‘keep cup’ for ages. I’m not keep on the green colour though. Is there a reason they need to be green, apart from the obvious?

How_Canberran1:06 pm 15 Dec 19

Hmmm, that’s nice. Now what about the pot-holes on the Parkway?

So the govt spent a heap of our money on a thing we don’t want, and now they want to force these horrible-colour things in us. (White cups would be nicer to drink from.)

Why do you say “we”?

1) It’s not just the ACT government but a heap of councils in NSW putting in money towards these cups, although I think most of the money comes from people who forget to return their cups after 30 days
2) If you really want to drink from a white cup, you can stay at the cafe and drink from a china cup, or bring your own white cup!

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