The Koha Jar Project

The Koha Jar Project aims to provide an accessible alternative to single use coffee cups - from cafes, markets, or even school fairs. The underlying principle is that by working together we can create real behaviour change. Please feel free to download the guide, posters and jam jar toppers below - use them as inspiration, use them as they are, or contact us to get our designer to make up something just for you - no cost - never. 


The Koha Jar Project is perfectly suited to build relationships between markets and local schools. They work together to collect jars - the schools wrap them in rescued fabric and offering them to market visitors for koha - which can be a coin or a promise to reuse the jar, keeping Aotearoa beautiful. This provides the market with a wholesome waste stream solution that is easy on the market coffee vendors, is hassle free for the market management and is gorgeous as heck for shoppers and visitors - and it's social media gold. Many cafes are working with local primary schools to get jars for travellers - It's a win for everyone.


The exciting thing for us is how easily this can be adapted for cafes and how it gives schools a real, practical and tangible tool to make change, to feel empowered, to connect and strengthen communities and most of all, to normalise reuse.  Hands on activities, undertaken together, utilising waste products to give them life before recycling, providing solutions for hospitality that really means there is no excuse for single use. 


No need to use the UYO logo, the expression 'Koha Jar' or anything at all if you don't want to. We just want to support goodness in any way we can. Own it, make it yours, and just let me know if I can help. 





  • A large coffee (in NZ) is 12oz, that's 340ml, so that's the largest jar you will need for coffee. For example, a 380g jar of pics peanut butter is perfect. A little coffee can fit in a large jar, so all good. If you want to be precise, a small coffee is 8oz, 227ml. Are you going to be loaning jars at places where they serve smoothies or juices to go? If so, how about a selection of larger jars? Pickles, coconut yoghurt, olives?
  • Put the word out in your community that you are on the hunt for clean jars. A note in the school newsletter, on a supermarket notice board? Ask health food stores or other community focussed places (local markets, doctors, community centres, craft groups) to be a collection/drop-off point for you? Ask them to share the request on their social media?
  • Give them a damn good clean. Get the labels off (olive oil is surprisingly good for this) and run through a dish washer. If you have access to a local cafe steriliser, even better, but not vital. This is about common sense. 



  • First, the practicalities. We're going to need some kind of heat band for those folks who like black coffee or like it super-hot. Now, number 1, use what you have. Look around you. Fabric, string, wool, rubber bands, even reuse paper or card - write a message on it!- and secure it around the jar with string. Coffee sacks, the tops of odd socks, cabbage tree fronds -  get creative!
  • These jars are not intended to be returned to the cafe for processing or washing - once they leave the cafe or famers markets, they are the responsibility of the coffee drinker. They can remove your heat band if they want, add their own upgrade or own personality to it - use it forever, or simply pop it into the recycling where it would, hopefully, have ended up without your intervention!
  • Personalise the lid? Cut paper circles and decorate? Write your school's name or a message of thanks from you, because this coffee drinker has chosen to reuse. 
  • Got someone who is handy with a drill? We have found that drilling an 8mm or 10mm hole, just out form the jar edge (filing it smooth, to be safe) works well as a sippy hole, but really, this isn’t a necessary step. Handier for smoothie or juice koha jars to avoid a smoothie moustache...I love a smoothie moustache!
  • Create something to carry them in, to leave with the cafe, that can be refilled. A wicker basket from the local op shop, a cardboard box that you cover and line with fabric or paper? Something that means you can deliver the jars to the cafe all set up and sturdy. They may choose to display elsewhere, but best to be prepared. 
  • And now your sign. We have free downloads you can print and display, or make your own! Use ours to get your started. The box of jars and the sign are your gift to the cafe. 
  • Do you want to collect Koha? The real Koha is the promise to use the jars, but if you are fundraising for a school project etc, why not let folks know that they can drop a coin or two into this wee box or jar to help you reach your goal. However, make sure it is clear that these jars are free to take. Giving is everything. You are creating a world that is kind and generous. 



  • Ok, you have your first stash. Now to get them into the world. Write letters, make a phone call, or even better, go see the cafe with your Koha Jar Project kit in your hands. Would they like to be a part of this. Adopting a cafe is a lovely way to get your jars to customers. It cuts waste, it gives the jars extra life and it creates a connection where your school or group can show their commitment to action and change. 
  • Famers markets. Their contact details are almost always available on line. Ask for assistance in contacting them. Would the market give you a free patch to set up your table and Koha Jar stall to help them reduce single use waste? Talk to the coffee vendors at the market - give them a sign that lets their customers know you have free reusable jars for them to take away. 
  • Work together - Reach out to other schools in your area and suggest a collaboration? Ask if they would like to take a weekend each at a local market? Or share the adoption of a cafe?
  • Think about how you can spread the idea of reuse, repurpose, refill? How about school fundraisers? Christmas gifts? A way to make your school fair single use cup free? The jars are meant to be taken away, so washing them after use is not an issue. You are givers, not washers. This means it can work at all sorts of events.


The goal is to change the way we humans behave. If you give these jars, there is no excuse not to rinse it out and use it again and again. You are making change. Real, hands-on change. 


If your school, envirogroup is keen to take on the Koha Project and you'd like our assistance, with a chat, a classroom visit or skype call, some funds for op shop fabrics or twine/string, to knock around ideas, to connect you with cafes or markets, to share your work via our social media, to connect you with local or national press (because being seen to make change gives hope and inspires change in others), then just give me a call or an email and we're there.