The other day, inspired by the ABC’s War on Waste series and disturbed by what I learned about single use coffee cups on the program, I walked into Wingham’s Bent on Life to buy myself a keep cup to have my takeaway coffee in.
It seems I am only one in a growing crowd – I am not the only one who was affected by the three episode program.
There was nary a keep cup to be seen in the store. When I asked about the cups, proprietor Donna Carrier told me “we’ve run out!”
Donna says she has noticed a big increase in sales of keep cups since War on Waste aired.
“We’ve also had comments on the fact that we do offer the ‘bring your own cup’ at Bent on Food,” she added.
“We’ve had a lot more of that, a lot more. Also a lot of people that have complemented us on environmental stuff, like us using paper bags instead of plastic.”
I asked Donna whether she had many people who used their own cups for takeaway coffee rather than opting for single use cups.
“Yeah, we have a few, and it’s building even more with this War on Waste thing. People now are looking for cafes that are showing that they’re environmentally sustainable, or they’re thinking about the environment, anyway,” Donna answered.
Donna’s cafe, Bent on Food, is the only cafe in the Manning Valley registered on responsiblecafes.org, a website that “connects thoughtful cafes with conscious consumers” by having a map of cafes who give discounts on their coffee for people who bring their own cups.
Other cafes in the MidCoast region registered with the site are the Fox Den Cafe and Cafe 57 in Gloucester and Coffee Grind in Forster. However other cafes have been offering discounts for people using keep cups, some of them for years, but aren’t yet registered with the website.
The Garden Grub in Wingham have always offered discounts, and are now in the process of registering with responsiblecafes.org. Owner Sheree Odgen is also waiting for a shipment of ceramic keep cups to sell at her cafe.
The Wild Fig Wholefood Cafe in Taree has also been offering discounts and selling keep cups “for years” and owner Janeece Irving offers proper coffee mugs in her travelling cafe stall that attends markets.
Julie-ann Booth took over the Centrepoint Cafe in Taree’s Centrepoint Arcade approximately nine months ago and is in the process of slowly “phasing out the old and bringing in the new” to make the cafe environmentally sustainable, and she does offer a discount for keep cup users.
All of the cafe owners mentioned above choose to use biocups for takeaway coffee, believing they are environmentally sound, but as shown on War on Waste, these cups still end up in landfill.
Donna Carrier is urging other local cafe owners to register with responsiblecafes.org to allow conscious consumers to find a choice of environmentally aware cafes in our region.