Single Use Cup (SUC) Free in 2020 

By Kirsty Schmutsch

Why, you might ask. 

Well, because it’s a bigger problem than you might think. In Wanaka alone, up to 1 million takeaway coffee cups end up in landfill or contaminating recycling streams every year. These cups take decades to break down, emitting carbon and methane as they do it – and, without a commercial composting facility, the compostable ones can be even worse for our environment. (https://www.facebook.com/sucfreewanaka/).

We can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. As a mainly takeaway bakery, our business was part of the problem. We were responsible for facilitating the (single) use of almost 12,000 takeaway cups in 14 months and we think that’s quite a lot of unnecessary packaging and ultimately, waste. While we realise we are not perfect, this is a part of a longer journey of sustainability and a good place to start is with something tangible and effective. 

How did we do it?

We are not alone and we couldn’t go single use cup free without a viable alternative to offer customers who still like their coffee on the go, but might not always remember to bring their own cup to put it in.

SUC (single use cup) Free Wanaka is a campaign by the community, for the community, to make our beautiful place free from the scourge of single-use cups by 2022. They’ve partnered with Wellington social enterprise Again Again and in October 2019 launched a cup lending scheme. Again Again is a cup lending system that eliminates single-use waste and protects customers’ desire for convenience. 

How does it work?

Unlike biodegradable single use cups – most of which are never recycled or composted – or personal reusable cups, which require forethought, Again Again designs out waste by providing a fleet of reusable steel cups available by deposit and return at any participating cafe, enabling coffee drinkers anywhere to save the planet with every convenient, guilt-free sip.

It really wasn’t a difficult decision to go single use cup free. It makes sense. Our staff and customers are amazing and have embraced this change easily. Our coffee still tastes amazing. We are proud to say no to takeaway cups and we are here to support our customers to make the change too. It’s actually not that difficult. You can take your own bags to the supermarket, you can take your own takeaway coffee cup to the café. And even if you do forget your cup, it’s no worries, you can borrow one of ours! Just ask for an Again Again cup to put your tasty beverage in. Don’t forget to return it to us for your $3 refund, or any of the other 13 participating cafes in Wanaka, or at over 170 cafes around the country!