Tradie Week 2020

By Ethically Kate

It’s not cool to use a reusable cup; it’s normal. But when you’re out on a construction site, surrounded by colleagues who have grabbed a disposable cup every single smoko for decades… you can imagine the tension.

Tradie Week exists to make this tension a little easier. To support building sites who are disposable-cup-free, to help the Aotearoa New Zealand hospitality industry get back on its feet, and to ultimately let Tradies know: it’s normal to BYO cup.

Tradie Week. 22nd - 26th June.

+ Celebrate Tradies who reuse
+ Over 30 Cafes are giving away 10 free brews to Tradies with reusables (find the cafes here)
+ UYO and SUCfree Wanaka are giving $200 to a winning Wanaka building company/Tradie group who tag them with their reusables!

No Limits Wanaka
No Limits Wanaka
Here's the deal: for one week, Aotearoa New Zealand (that means me and you by the way) will celebrate Tradies who dodge single-use cups. The Tradies who say “oh hey, remember your cups guys” as they leave the building site to grab a feed down the road. The Tradies who go without their well deserved coffee because they forgot to BYO, and the Tradies who accept the cafe’s reusable cup from their return scheme… and remember to bring it back when they’re done.

“Tradie Week is a fun idea that can have real and tangible impacts on local wastestream and resource use,” says founder of Aotearoa New Zealand’s responsible cafe directory, Use-Your-Own (UYO… this very platform you are reading this on!), Laura Cope. “The Use Your Own cafe guide exists to instigate behaviour change through collaboration with the hospitality industry and community groups.”

Tradie Week was brought to life by UYO of course, but it’s the cafes and construction companies nationwide who have made it a ‘thing’! 30+ cafes around the country have joined in with Tradie Week, and many of them will be offering 10 free coffees to the first Tradies who BYO cup on Monday the 22nd of June.
Tradie local at Switch Napier
Tradie local at Switch Napier
I chatted with a few of the cafes involved, to see what they observe in the current 'Tradie coffee cup culture' (don’t you love that alliteration?), and why they made the decision to be part of Tradie Week.

Cafe Crave, a cafe owned by a collective of Morningside (Auckland) locals, says, “We are all about making the neighbourhood a better place to live for everyone, including tradies. We have a bunch of tradies in the Crave collective and we know heaps of tradies that want to use reusable cups as it keeps the coffee hotter for longer on the job site.”

If I take my magnifying glass down to the South Island, it’s no surprise to see Wanaka lead the way when it comes to being single-use-cup free; they’re entrenched in Tradie Week already. “If one company starts using their own cups, word will spread,” explains Jana Reulecke of SUCfree Wanaka. “They will be the ‘responsible’ firm, you know, with a low-waste site, that cares about their immediate environment. We want to support those businesses. We want to shout about them!”
No Limits Wanaka
No Limits Wanaka
It’s not just cafes and community groups who are involved; building and construction companies are getting ready for Tradie Week too. Master Builder NZ says, “It is great to celebrate Tradies and the New Zealand construction industry; it is a vital part of our economy and a rewarding career.”

Personally, it’s flippin’ exciting to see building sites across Aotearoa New Zealand commit to participating. No Limits Wanaka and Artisan Developments are just two of the companies getting on board next week; UYO is encouraging everyone to use the hashtag #zerowastesmoko and tag @uyo.nz for some free promo and online support.

“It’s all about growing the awareness and changing everyone’s habits,” says Jana, SUCfree Wanaka.

Tradie Week is only a few days away, and it’s up to us, the people, to take it and roll with it!
Tradie local at Switch Napier
Tradie local at Switch Napier

If you’re a construction company/worker:


For the week 22nd - 26th June, rock your reusables when you get a brew. It doesn’t have to be a fancy reusable cup; simply a mug from home or a jar will do.

Next step? Consider becoming disposable-cup free! Not only will your brews stay hotter for longer on the building site, but proudly acknowledging this when talking to clients means they will feel more comfortable knowing you won’t leave rubbish lying around when the job is done. Being single-use-cup-free will help you stand out from the crowd and lock in more jobs!

If you’re an awesome human:


Do your mates work in construction? Or perhaps you are friends with the Tradies next door? Mention Tradie Week to them, casually in conversation. Ask them if they need some cups (dress up some spare jars?), or generally encourage them to choose to reuse with the excuse of ‘it’s Tradie Week!’

If you’re a cafe:


Celebrate the Tradies who come into your space during 22 - 26th June. Celebrate them always, but especially during this week. Make them feel special, chat about Tradie week, and tag @uyo.nz so we can give you some social media love.

Download the Tradie Week poster to pop up at your cafe or workplace.