Dunedin cafe bans disposable takeaway coffee cup
A Dunedin cafe is refusing to serve coffee in disposable takeaway cups to stop 1000 cups heading to landfill each week.
The move is paying off for Otago Polytechnic's Eden Cafe.
"We have gone through the rubbish bins around campus and they are virtually empty," Polytechnic functions and catering executive chef Mark Lane said.
"Normally they are chocka with coffee cups."
The move to stop serving coffee in paper takeaway cups began on Monday, with customers supportive of the change.
Lane said the cafe, which was open Monday to Friday, served about 190 takeaway coffees a day. The majority of those cups were discarded near the cafe.
Jen Rodgers, the polytechnic's Sustainable Practice Advisor, said "the move has made people think about what they are doing instead of mindlessly getting their takeaway coffee and throwing away the paper cup".
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For customers wanting a takeaway option, the cafe gave them a keep-cup or served coffee in old crockery sourced from secondhand stores.
Lane said the crockery was sourced for the same price as the cafe had paid for the takeaway coffee cups.
"People can even take them away if they want."
There was a plan for students to produce ceramic cups for use at the cafe.
The cafe had previously used paper takeaway cups that were recycled in other cities, but in Dunedin they went straight to landfill.
"We just thought, why have them?"
Takeaway cups appeared to "ingrained in our culture". It was important to break that habit, he said.
"We wanted people to take some time out with coffee ... take some time out of the office and connect with people."
He expected the polytechnic-owned cafe would have an initial downturn in the short term.
"But the feedback has been all positive."
DID YOU KNOW
* Takeaway cups are not biodegradable as the water proof lining is polyethylene , a petroleum-based product.
* Organic matter contamination, coupled with the plastic lining, meant coffee cups need a specialist recycling process, which is only available in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch.
* Some paper coffee cups come from trees felled in Russia and are coated with polyethylene by a Finnish company coats before being shipped to New Zealand where they are made into a cup and distributed.
* A person using one paper coffee cup a day is the equivalent of a tree being cut down each year to produce those cups.
SOURCE: OTAGO POLYTECHNIC
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