Call for cafes to switch to recyclable cups

Environmentally-friendly coffee cups needn’t cost the earth, says Birgit Guild.

A Rodney business owner is pushing for more widespread use of environmentally-friendly disposable coffee cups after discovering that they cost the same, if not less than conventional cups that can’t be recycled or composted.

Birgit Guild of Gull Snells Beach started selling barista coffee from the service station last year and quickly became concerned at the amount of waste it was generating.

“The amount of cups that went out the door and into rubbish bins, plus plastic lids, carry trays, and so on, it was scary. I kept thinking about all the different places selling coffee and how many cups and lids that would be,” she says.

“So I thought about an environmentally-friendly cup, but assumed it would be more expensive and that’s why people wouldn’t use them.

“But these cups are the same price, if not cheaper than the ordinary ones. I was quite shocked by that discovery; so why isn’t everybody using environmentally-friendly coffee cups?”

She is now using recyclable Enviro Cups and lids, plus compostable smoothie cups and straws, from Nicholls & Maher NZ in Auckland and Insinc Products in Red Beach.

“Every coffee shop needs to start thinking about this,” Birgit says. “We can make a change so easily and it’s not going to cost any more than what you’re paying already.”

Susan Vize, who runs Chocolate Brown in Warkworth, made the switch to compostable packaging for all her cafe supplies last year and she agrees that it’s cheaper as well as good for the environment.
“We have branded our cups with Chocolate Brown and saved money going compostable,” she says.
However, Rachael Aitkens at Leigh Eats, which uses all recyclable compostable packaging, has found that some items can still be more expensive than conventional, which she believes would put some business owners off.

“I think that’s why a lot of places don’t use it, with their small profit margins they just can’t afford it, plus customers complain when they have to pay more,” she says. “But it’s better for the environment, because it breaks down faster than plastic-based products.”


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