Reusables Only At Remarkables

By Sherryn Smith
2017/2018 & 2018/2019: At the beginning of our season, we had this coffee stand made cheap as chips, & had fun buying the cups from our local Salvation Army stores. We also asked our locals to donate any cups they no longer wanted at home. Cups were lovingly handwashed by our market team throughout each market day. BUT although we were kept busy washing these, they equated to around 20% of the coffees being purchased.
Then we built one of these …. And wrote some words on it like “Reuse, recycle …” etc etc.
Our 2 coffee vendors agree to discount coffee $0.50 if people used these cups which we advertised on the stand. This stand is still one of the most photographed things at our market!
We also tried this cup chute (inspired by the Christchurch Farmers Market having one), which enables cups to stack in one loooong pile taking up significantly less room in our rubbish skips.
BUT the uptake wasn’t great … you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink! And we still ended up with a whole …. HEAP of juicing cups in our rubbish bins and, while our lovely juicing stall had gone to great lengths to buy eco-friendly cups, unfortunately these weren’t able to be disposed of in Otago so ended up in the landfill.
During our winter hiatus, we sent this [email] to our coffee carts and our juicing stall towards the goal of becoming the first market in New Zealand  to ban single use cups. Lots of ideas & discussion followed …. but we all agreed it was do-able.

"Hi Everyone. Hope you're enjoying our winter break and Saturday sleep-ins as much as I am!

I'm not sure if you're familiar with this website, but I'd love you to take a look at it

You all know the number of coffees/juices you make each week that go into take away cups that end up in our rubbish bins and we ultimately want to stop it all. That would save you money by not having to purchase takeaway cups/lids and help us get near to zero waste, seeing that cups are the biggest component of our weekly market waste.

We're also looking at a composting scheme this year that you could put all your fruit waste or coffee grinds into (if you don't want to offer bags of these free to our visitors). Mike will then use the comnpost on the market gardens.

It would be great if we started next market season collectively saying 'no' to take away cups...rather than charging more if they want one. 

What would you need from us to make this work? 

A - could you check out the bulk purchase of the ----- and at what point we could get a discount if we did a giveaway for opening day?

P, A, L - would you be happy doing a voucher for discount of the reusabel cups you each sell? Actually, I'm assuming you all sell reusable cups? Do you? Are these branded to you? 

I could get a whole lot branded with the market logo too  - 

M - Is there any way glass jars would work for you if we have a whole stash of them? I think you already do the paper straw thing (and there's a great poster here you could display on your stall).

Any other ideas? Love to hear your thoughts...

Thanks for your support, Sherryn. "

Then Remarkables Market went and purchased a commercial sterilising dishwasher, 200 large coffee cups (0.80 ea if you buy n bulk from The Warehouse), and 140 medium cups from K-Mart for $1 each. Coffee vendors bought their own espresso cups which we wash and give back to them. Then the call went out on Facebook for jars: The post got a whole lot of love… and support from our locals. (3,648 reached & 637 engagements)
2019: We changed our market rules to these...(and also banned the sale of any drinks in plastic bottles). Everyone knows that reducing waste is the right thing to do but sometimes people (stallholders & visitors alike) just need a wee prompt … or no prompt, just all other options taken away from them!
Don’t get us wrong, after 3 weeks of our season, we are still refining the dishwashing process and training people where to put their used cups and jars (still find several each market day in the glass bins … aaahhh!!). Because we have less cups and jars than coffees and juices being made, it does require 2 staff pretty much fulltime to work the dishwasher so we have essentially created 2 more jobs in the community for our school kids!
  • Deciding to start the ceramic cups on Opening Day of our season with 93 stallholders, over 2500 visitors, 4 new staff, one new dishwasher and no cup washing system in place. BUT only one person asked for a takeaway cup during our opening day market!
  • Increased community support for what we’ve done and their participation through jar & cup donation to aid the process. 
  • Amazed national and overseas visitors who are starting to challenge their local markets to do the same. 
  • Less rubbish overall. We think we’re saving approximately 800 single use cups from ending up in landfill each week x 25 week season = 20,000!
  • Great compost being created for our market gardens.
  • A sense of pride in making this work.
Next Steps: 
Helping our foodies change to fully compostable plate/cutlery options!
"We have eliminated the use of single use cups here at Remarkables Marekt: Make sure to put your dirty cups/jars in these buckets 😀 You’ll see them all around the market 🥰"