Freo makes it easier to choose reusable cups during Plastic Free July
Twelve cafes in Fremantle and East Fremantle are trialling a reuse cup model with a vision to make the single-use takeaway cup redundant.
Participating cafes provide consumers with a choice of a single-use cup or a reusable cup, with the only obligation on the customer being to rinse out the reusable cup and bring it back.
The three-month trial, conducted in partnership with Our Kinds, the City of Fremantle, Town of East Fremantle, Fremantle Ports and the Department of Communities, aims to reduce the estimated 190 million single-use coffee cups used in WA alone each year.
In Fremantle, the cafes taking part in the trial are Piccolo Café and Breaks on High Street, Moore and Moore on Henry Street, Parlapa on William Street, Quasimodos on Phillimore Street and The Freo Merchant at Victoria Quay.
Christine Breglia from Piccolo Café said she was delighted to be doing her bit to reduce plastic waste.
“When we first started in 1993 we served takeaway coffee in those old styrofoam cups with the plastic lids, which then evolved into the plain brown cardboard cups, then the printed ones and now into the new era of reusables,” Ms Breglia said.
“When you think about how many single-use takeaway cups we would have sold over the years it would have to be in the millions, with all that waste.
“In the same way that we have with plastic bags, this trial is about introducing a reusable option and teaching people that we’ll be ok. We’ll manage it, we’ll get used to it, we’ll survive it, and it will become part of our lives.
“The reusable cups haven’t affected the flow of our business at all. It hasn’t slowed anything down, we’re still very efficient, and at this point they’ve all come back!
“Without doubt this is the way of the future. If we want to look after the planet, we have to make permanent, ongoing changes. We don’t have a choice.”
The trial of the reusable coffee cup system is being run by Perth-based sustainability company Our Kinds.
Our Kinds Co-Founder Karen Monaghan said their goal was to make the single-use takeaway coffee cup redundant.
“The Our Kinds system is really easy. Cafes are provided with reusable cups of their choice that are offered to customers as an alternative to a single-use cup.
“Cafes can choose the cups that work for the culture, vibe and flow of their business, with many cafes choosing to use second-hand cups from Good Sammy’s.
“The customer can then take the cup away, enjoy their coffee, rinse it out and bring it back, then the café washes it thoroughly and uses it for another customer. It’s that simple - no app, no fee, no fines, no tokens, no blockers.
“Each cup has a QR code so we can measure how often the cups are used and share the difference we’re making, as a movement. In our first trial at The Corner Store in Subiaco we saved over 10,000 cups, and lids, in just 9 weeks.
“The state government is committed to phasing out single-use plastics, so café owners need a solution that’s going to work for them.
"In making it easy for cafes to offer reusables at scale, and for consumers to make an active choice every day - single use or reuse - Freo is supporting coffee consumers to develop a reuse habit.
“And there’s no better time to give reuse a try than Plastic Free July.”
On 1 July the state government began enforcing a ban on certain single-use plastics, with retailers now facing fines for using plastic plates, bowls and drinking straws. In total, nine plastic items have been banned, ranging from thick plastic bags to helium balloons.
The new rules were introduced on January 1, but the state government implemented a six-month transition period to allow businesses to find alternatives.
Disposable plastic cups for cold drinks will be prohibited from October 2022 to provide retailers with more time to adapt.
Further bans on coffee cups, microbeads and cotton bud sticks are planned to start on January 1 2023.