ABC's War on Waste creates unprecedented demand for sustainable coffee cups
Author: Elise Catterall
KeepCup, the sustainable coffee cup company, has seen unprecedented demand for its products after the recent airing of the ABC’s ‘War on Waste’ program.
In the last episode of the Australian Broadcasting Corporations’s War on Waste, which aired on June 3, presenter Craig Reucassel shone a spotlight on the Australian coffee industry – specifically, taking a close look at single-use coffee cups and the impact they have on the environment.
The program disclosed that of the more than 1 billion disposable coffee cups used by Australians each year, approximately 92% go to landfill. According to businessrecycling.com.au, that equates to 2.7 million coffee cups per day*. The revelation has clearly had an impact on the coffee drinkers of Australia, because in response to the program, KeepCup, Australia’s largest producer of reusable coffee cups, has seen a phenomenal surge in sales.
KeepCup co-founder and managing director Abigail Forsyth said “We knew [War on Waste] would be talking about coffee cups so we were expecting a bit of a spike, but not to this extent. It crashed our website, and we’ve had all our cafés screaming for stock.”
The rise is unprecedented for KeepCup – sales enquiries have risen by 690%, sales by over 400% and web traffic by 205%.
KeepCup, founded in 2009, was the brainchild of Abigail and Jamie Forsyth, a brother and sister team from Melbourne, who recognised early on the negative impact of the plastic-coated paper cups ubiquitous in cafés across Australia. Eight years later, the company sells its products in over 32 countries and counting.
Cafés are a big part of the success of KeepCup – many cafes across Australia encourage the use of KeepCups by both selling the cups and incentivising patrons to use them by offering discounts and freebies when a cup is used or purchased. The website responsiblecafes.org, a directory set up to help coffee drinkers find cafés in their local area that will reward them for being sustainable, has also seen a surge in cafes being listed on their site – jumping from 450 to 1800 – following the airing of the episode.
Several cafes, including Perth’s Antz Inya Pantz, have gone so far as not offering disposable coffee cups at all. Antz Inya Pantz has successfully operated in this way for over a year and estimates that in that time, they have prevented the use of 70,000 disposable cups.
KeepCup has also been receiving corporate requests, demonstrating that the shift is not just at the personal level – companies are also wanting to do the right thing.
*In fact, disposable coffee cups are technically recyclable, as they are similar in composition to milk cartons – a cardboard container with a plastic coating. However, public place and workplace recycling systems may not be geared to accept them.
If your council allows milk and juice cartons in your kerbside recycling then you can recycle disposable coffee cups at home too. But they do need to be flattened first, to ensure they end up in the paper recycling stream. If in doubt, the golden rule is always to leave out, and the best solution is to avoid them altogether.
- Watch the War on Waste episode on coffee cups
- BYO coffee cup next time you are getting a take-away coffee. Find stockists for KeepCups
- Support the cafés doing their bit – find one near you
- Encourage your local café to stock reusable cups and to incentivise their use
- Visit KeepCup’s Reuse HQ to track your usage and contribute to a global movement
- Read more about the issues surrounding coffee cup recycling
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Article 1, Article 2)
- Smart Company
- Internet Retailing
- Sydney Morning Herald
Subscribe to Positive Environment News.
Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.
Elise is a writer, photographer, and naturopath with a passion for nature. She completed a Master of Public Health in 2017 through the University of Sydney. Her photographic work focuses on flowers and plants as a way of celebrating nature. She has been writing for Planet Ark since 2017, sharing positive environment stories, personal environmental experiences and perspectives.
- Packaging industry moves towards better plastic recycling outcomes »
- A sustainable future for fashion »
- Trading trash for a hot cuppa »
- Everyday Enviro with Elise - Small changes with big impact »
- War on Waste is back! »
- The light at the end of the tunnel is made with LEDs »
- A Walk Sew Good it's still being talked about »
- Everyday Enviro with Elise - Choosing progress over perfection with Lush »
- How Cartridges 4 Planet Ark is part of the solution to plastic pollution »
- The great story behind Lousy Ink »
- Kenyan business Ocean Sole is flipping the flop from waste to art »
- Everyday Enviro with Elise - Parliament on King »
- Scientists discover enzyme that breaks down plastic »
- Reusable sponge that soaks up oil spills »
- Super coral to resist ocean warming »
- Nestlé to go fully reusable and recyclable by 2025 »
- Woolworths, Coles remove plastic bags from stores ahead of schedule »
- Planet Ark and Bingo aim for the top with a bold new vision »
- The 'queen of green steel' launches landmark e-waste microfactory »
- True colours - how simple bin changes cut waste at ANZ Stadium »
- Dutch scientists developing smart app to measure water pollution »
- The Swedish fitness craze that's good for you and the environment »
- Victorian Government pitches in for councils facing recycling shutdowns »
- Guilt free tea-bags, frozen food and paper drinking straws »
- Planet Ark's flagship recycling info service is getting a makeover »
- Paper or plastic? »
- Woolcool turns waste wool into insulation wonder »
- An innovative solution to the problem of ocean pollution »
- Taking sustainable fashion to new heights »
- HP's plastic recycling program is turning Haitian pollution into printer cartridges »
- New South Wales Return and Earn Container Deposit Scheme hits 64 million returns »
- Cleaning up the Cove »
- Vanuatu bans plastic bags and polystyrene containers »
- A global commitment to clean oceans »
- Marine plastic pollution: a personal perspective »
- Plastics inspiration: reasons for hope »
- Planet Ark announced as Donation Partner for NSW Container Deposit Scheme »
- Top Australian sustainability award winners announced »
- Doing well by doing good: a recipe for sustain-ability »
- Beyond plastic pollution: solutions for a small planet »
- Revolutionary eco-friendly furniture the way of the future »
- Victoria announces plastic bag ban »
- Aussie innovators compete for the climate on the world stage »
- The Australian second-hand economy is booming »
- Fighting waste with Fortunate Food »
- Southern states are bankrolling businesses in the War on Waste »
- How far would you go for fair trade fashion? »
- Sunshine Coast sisters launch Australian-first sustainability project »
- What do Smiths, Kathmandu and Jurlique have in common? »
- Facing down fast fashion with up-cycled clothes »
- Hobart City Council going further to phase out plastic »
- Picky plants: Growing green in difficult environments »
- Australia is one step closer to being plastic bag free »
- World's largest crop of tequila plant set to fuel green energy in far north Queensland »
- 81-Year-Old Lebanese woman inspires a nation to recycle »
- Painting a Brighter Environmental Future »
- Shell Recycling - Big Gains From Small Things »
- Wriggly Solution To Plastic Pollution: The Caterpillar That Eats Plastic »
- Australia's First Rescued Food Supermarket is a Win-win for the Planet and Those in Need. »
- New London Levy to Halve 'Lethal' Pollution »
- 'Creature Compost' - Zoo Reduces Landfill and Generates Income »
- The Awful Truth About Nappies & Recycling »
- Seabin »
- This South Australian School Has Plans to Eliminate Campus Waste Bins in Seven Years »
- Australia's Biggest E-Waste Processing Plant to Open »
- Sending Packages Using Green Logistics »
- Is the Supermarket of the Future Plastic Free? »
- These Googly-Eyed Garbage Gobblers Are Cleaning Our Waterways »
- New Technology Turns Beach Plastic into Treasure »
- Tokyo Set to Take Sydney's Green Olympic Medal »
- Tetra Pak Sets Industry Benchmark with Science Based Target Approval »
- Unilever Commits to 100% Recyclable Plastic packaging »
- World's Biggest Beach Clean-up »
- Launch of Positive Environment News »