A Coffee Movement in the Illawarra

Disposable coffee cups are a major contributor to Australia’s land fill, but dozens of Illawarra cafes are encouraging customers to curb their waste addiction. 

At Coledale’s Earth Walker and Co, sustainability has been a driving factor for owners Ciara Kulmar and Bianca Pascoliero who offer a 30 cent discount for people who bring their own cups.

“People around here have really embraced it, we do coffees for the local school, people at work sites who come in every day and we often sell out of out reusable cups,” Ms Kulmar said.

“Having 30 cents off is just a bit of an incentive, and if you’re buying a coffee every day it doesn’t take long to make back the cost of a reusable cup,” Ms Pascoliero said.

Why you should BYO

  • According to ABC’s War on Waste, Australians throw away about 50,000 cups every 30 minutes. 
  • That’s almost 1 billion cups a year, and enough to circumnavigate the earth more than twice.
  • A lot of the cups are unrecyclable, as the plastic or polymer lining can’t easily be separated from the paper cup. This means most cups in Australia end up in landfill.
  • Even if your favourite cafe serves coffee in “compostable cups”, resources and energy have to go into making these single use items.
  • You can take a Keep Cup or other branded reusable cup, which comes with a lid similar to a disposable cup, but lots of cafes are just as happy if you want to take along any old mug from home.
  • Choosing a cafe that offers an incentive means you can save yourself money as well as helping the environment.