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

Ian Bushnell 15 December 2019 107

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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107 Responses to Take up the green coffee cup or face ban, cafes warned
BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 9:02 pm 19 Dec 19

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.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 5:52 pm 19 Dec 19

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.

Rina Ora Zikner Rina Ora Zikner 5:52 pm 19 Dec 19

try chemical free cups www.crumple.com.au

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 5:39 pm 19 Dec 19

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.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 5:37 pm 19 Dec 19

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.

Ana Ana 4:57 pm 19 Dec 19

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?

Alastair McKenzie Alastair McKenzie 11:37 pm 18 Dec 19

Hectoring moralism.

Bill Orr Bill Orr 8:29 pm 17 Dec 19

I love it. I’ve been using the scheme and it’s great.

Canberra always produces critics. Seriously we carry on about ‘whinging Poms’: Australians are world champions.

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 9:21 pm 15 Dec 19

A local cafe near me has bought a heap of secondhand china cups and locals can get a takeaway coffee in them and then bring them back and place in a basket, from where they will be washed and reused. Great idea.

    Paul Waters Paul Waters 2:37 pm 16 Dec 19

    yuck that's not very hygienic!

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 2:49 pm 16 Dec 19

    Paul Waters How is a dishwashed cup unhygienic, or are you a germ phobic?

    Jane Kim Jane Kim 5:51 pm 16 Dec 19

    Julie Macklin what a great idea. When I still worked we used to take our own coffee mugs (no “keep cups” then) to the cafe downstairs and get our coffee in them.

    Jane Kim Jane Kim 5:52 pm 16 Dec 19

    Paul Waters it’s no different from eating or drinking in a cafe or restaurant. They wash and reuse their crockery and cutlery all the time.

Karen Feng Karen Feng 8:34 pm 15 Dec 19

If I suddenly need coffee I'm not going to have a reusable cup. I found my bag is always full.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 9:17 pm 15 Dec 19

    What!! Then tough. Get your act together.

    Karen Feng Karen Feng 10:24 pm 15 Dec 19

    Julie Macklin spelling mistake. Autocorrect "bag" to "back". My bag is always full. Can't fit cup. Tried it. But need for coffee can occur at anytime.

    Jane Kim Jane Kim 5:58 pm 16 Dec 19

    Karen Feng if you don’t have a cup on you, take a moment to relax and drink it at the cafe.

    Karen Feng Karen Feng 6:35 pm 16 Dec 19

    Jane Kim that's a good point. But what if that morning I have a team meeting and is running late.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 6:35 pm 16 Dec 19

    Jane Kim I also sit and drink the coffee in a china or glass cup.

    Maria Guadalupe Gil Barba Maria Guadalupe Gil Barba 12:45 pm 17 Dec 19

    Sounds like a first world problem 😱

Alex Charalambous Alex Charalambous 7:39 pm 15 Dec 19

Who runs the ACT? Mr Barr or the greens? How much will they cost small businesses?

    Junia James Junia James 7:03 pm 16 Dec 19

    Alex Charalambous the greens Alex. It will cost a lot.

Bradley Bell Bradley Bell 6:14 pm 15 Dec 19

Buy a flask and take your own coffee, stuff the BS

Michael Carlson Michael Carlson 5:06 pm 15 Dec 19

The government no longer works for the people !!

I think people might need to investigate any recent purchases of shares from this new green cup company sound like there is room for people to make some money out of this when every cafe in the territory is made to purchase cups from a company that the government has partnered with. Who will really benefit from this land fill, business or share holders

    Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 5:30 pm 15 Dec 19

    Reducing waste is a policy that supports the people. Someone benefits from the cups being single use more than a cup being reused multiple times

    Michael Carlson Michael Carlson 8:16 pm 15 Dec 19

    Your missing the bigger picture today the government says save the world use our green cups or be banned from operating your business What's next from the government ? To prove your not a terrorist put this micro chip in your arm, We already have 70 people with chips if you don't do what we tell you don't leave the house to go to work !!

    The government is way out of line and slowy slicing away people's freedoms away starting with bullying the small stuff first.

Joe Marando Joe Marando 2:00 pm 15 Dec 19

Scott Wells Dominique Wells Only in Canberra!

How_Canberran How_Canberran 1:06 pm 15 Dec 19

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

Hamish Sinclair Hamish Sinclair 12:53 pm 15 Dec 19

reallly? all the big problems and this is what the govt focuses on? fix the health system, fix the education system , fix the planning DA's then worry about cafe cups ffs!

Mirabai Rose Mirabai Rose 10:22 am 15 Dec 19

Excellent initiative! People can also take their own. Use crockery etc. Reducing waste is everyones business

    Leigh Beshara Leigh Beshara 3:04 pm 16 Dec 19

    I wouldn't visit a shop where u can take ur own. U have no idea where that other cup has been, what biological contaminants are on it. You are introducing huge risk here. Also, these 'recycled' cups will leach all sorts of toxins. I won't be signing up to this or using any cafes that take random cups from customers.

    Jane Kim Jane Kim 5:55 pm 16 Dec 19

    Leigh Beshara really? We had a coffee shop near where I worked over 10 years ago where we took our own mugs to and they filled them.

    Jane Kim Jane Kim 9:41 pm 16 Dec 19

    Leigh Beshara our son works in a building with a coffee shop does this still.

    Leigh Beshara Leigh Beshara 11:41 pm 16 Dec 19

    Jane Kim check out this little waste management gem.


Will Lancaster Sr. Will Lancaster Sr. 10:19 am 15 Dec 19

they should all shut down. close up. the public will have all this sorted for them. Karen won't go without her mocha frap grande for very long.

Hannah Gardiner Hannah Gardiner 10:08 am 15 Dec 19

Fish Zafar Hazel Tate Sam Hampshaw Jake Bentley this sounds fun for you guys

Margaret Dzieciol Margaret Dzieciol 9:51 am 15 Dec 19

Reusable cups are plastic. I have a specially purposed glass jar with a lid , and if forgot, drink in coffee shop.

Plastics , even bpa free emit toxins into contents, especially hot milky beverages.

    Louise Kammholz Louise Kammholz 12:45 pm 15 Dec 19

    Margaret Dzieciol I *had* a glass one. I say had because my husband smashed it last night by accidentally knocking it off the bench so now I have to get another one.

    Will Fisher Will Fisher 4:05 pm 15 Dec 19

    There is plastic lining in the inside of most disposable coffee cups also

    Leigh Beshara Leigh Beshara 3:00 pm 16 Dec 19

    Will Fisher the plastic doesn't breakdown as much as constantly used and washed plastic. I will never go a shop using these cups. A fresh one for me everytime thanks.

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