An estimated 1 billion disposable coffee cups are used in Australia every year, with about 90% of these ending up in a landfill. Due to the plastic liner in these cups, they are difficult to recycle, very slow to biodegrade, and leave behind microplastics when they do finally break down. With the QLD government announcing an intention to ban disposable coffee cups and lids in the near future, let’s look at solutions and tips to making plastic free July a more permanent fixture in our lives, at least where coffee is concerned.
1. Sit and enjoy your coffee in the cafe as often as you are able.
This eliminates any waste that would be caused by needing a disposable takeaway cup in the first place.
2. Always have a clean reusable coffee cup in your car.
This generally means owning more than one reusable cup, ensuring you always have a clean one available, and yes, remembering to put it into your car once it’s clean.
3. Consider having a back-up cup/non-glass cup available too.
We personally prefer glass KeepCups for every-day use, like the Dalla Corte KeepCup we sell from the Dalla Corte store. However, having a non-glass cup available is a great idea if you go out to coffee spontaneously with someone else. Glass just isn't always practical if you’re enjoying a coffee with someone who brought a dog or a child with them, or who may wish to go on a walk with you while sipping coffee together. Collapsible silicone cups fit comfortably in a bag and are very handy to have for those spontaneous coffee dates or if you don’t own/use a car.
4. Invest in a set of reusable cutlery to stash in your car/bag.
Another great tip is to keep a set of reusable cutlery readily available to use instead of plastic disposable cutlery. Many cafes have a more sustainable option than plastic, but since you cannot control what is available to you, it’s always wise to come prepared.
5. Go the next level and bring your own takeaway containers for food as well.
Consider bringing your own clean reusable takeaway containers when getting food to go. Be sure to check the laws in your state to find out if this is possible before you try it. Recently, South Australia passed a law removing liability from retailers when customers bring their own containers. Hopefully the rest of Australia will soon follow suit.