06 Jun, 2017

City of Adelaide joins the war on disposable coffee cups

The City of Adelaide is partnering with CBD cafes to pilot incentives to reduce the amount of waste generated by disposable coffee cups.

Cafes in the pilot area bound by Gawler Place, King William, Flinders, and Grenfell Streets will be able to receive a once-off financial rebate by offering a discount to customers who bring their own cups and/or by providing compostable takeaway coffee cups and lids.

City of Adelaide Councillor Sandy Verschoor, who initiated the project, said that it would help to address the waste generated by takeaway coffees.

“It’s estimated that Australians use up to one billion disposable takeaway hot beverage containers each year.

“There is currently confusion about whether these cups can be recycled due to the thin plastic lining, and potential for residual liquids to soil recycled materials. As a result, the majority end up in waste bins or as litter. Coffee cups make up a significant portion of waste in city litter bins.

“Most cafes welcome customers who bring their own reusable cup and a growing number will provide a discount to those that do. The trial will test incentive-based payments to encourage sustainable business practices within the pilot area, including cafes offering discounts for reusable cups.

“The availability and cost effectiveness of compostable food and drink packaging has improved in recent years and South Australia is a leader in commercial organic composting. The rebate will help support businesses in the pilot area to give compostable cup products a try.

“We’ll be visiting all the café owners in the pilot area over the next few weeks to talk to them about how they can take part. Customers will know if their favourite café is part of the trial as there will be posters on display.”

To address community confusion, the pilot project will investigate the feasibility of standardised labelling for compostable and recyclable cups.

“There is a push to move to wider uptake of compostable food and beverage containers here in South Australia, being led by some of our more prominent South Australian events such as WOMADelaide and The Garden of Unearthly Delights.

“I would encourage businesses and customers to get on board. Together we can work towards reducing waste from single use packaging,” said Councillor Verschoor.

Businesses offering a discount to customers who bring in reusable cups will be eligible for a $200 once-off payment. Businesses that transition to compostable cups will be eligible for a $500 once-off payment while those who already offer compostable cups will receive a $200 once-off payment to help improve their practices. Businesses who offer the discount along with compostable cups could be eligible for a $700 payment.

The pilot aligns with Council’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020 and the Carbon Neutral Adelaide Action Plan 2016-2021 and will contribute to reduced carbon emissions from waste sent to landfill. The pilot will run from June 2017 until May 2018. Council will collect feedback on the pilot from participating businesses.


For more information

Paula Stevens