In a first for Byron Bay, local cafe and coffee roastery Bun Coffee, with support from Plastic Free Byron’s Make the Switch, dedicated January to increasing the use of reusable cups by their customers. This culminated in ‘Use Your Own Cup Day’ on Friday 29 January, where Bun greatly encouraged the use of reusable cups instead of single-use disposable varieties. The goal was to reduce waste, plastic pollution and change customer habits.
Follow up from the three week campaign suggested very positive results amongst the community, with many daily regulars converting from single use to reusables as a consequence of the increased attention to this issue.
Bun actively engaged with their customers not simply as consumers of coffee, but also as responsible citizens. This approach helped to foster a stronger sense of community and loyalty from both residents and local businesses who frequent the Byron Industrial Estate based cafe.
Bun’s owner, Jenny Kennedy, who’s full support for the campaign was key in achieving such positive results said “ thanks to ‘Make the Switch Byron’s’ support we here at Bun HQ have been able to continue to drive the UYO cup and UYO container for both cups of coffee and also beans to take home.”
Plastic Free Byron’s Make the Switch coordinator Clare Sullivan said “we know from the experience of a growing number of businesses who have eliminated single-use cups entirely that actively engaging customers as responsible citizens inspires them to remember to bring their own cup. We commend Bun Coffee for tackling this head on and the local Byron community for getting behind them.”
Single-use throwaway coffee cups and lids are a huge litter and waste problem throughout New South Wales. Across Australia, 2.7 million single-use throwaway cups are discarded every day. They cannot be recycled in kerbside recycling due to their plastic lining. They contaminate the recycling stream, end up in landfill, or worse, in our environment.
To engage customers, Bun Coffee had several initiatives. They:
implemented a mug library for customers to borrow a mug and return it on their next visit
held a competition for repeat customers to win prizes
continued to offer a 50cent discount for reusables
Promoted reusables for items other than just takeaway coffees
Bun was pleased with the response from the community, “talking to our customers and especially our regulars we are loving the fact that they too are trying hard to always bring their own cup. When questioned on whether or not the campaign has seen an increase in reusables, Jenny also commented that, “we have definitely seen an increase in UYO and by us taking the opportunity to set up a cup library in store, we have seen those numbers further increase”
“ A huge thanks to everyone who takes that extra minute to wash and remember their reusable cup each day….you are truly making a difference….one cup at a time!”
Make the Switch Byron is run by peak waste not-for-profit organisation Boomerang Alliance, under their ‘Plastic Free Places’ program and is funded by Byron Shire Council. The campaign to increase reusables in January also ran in other ‘Plastic Free Places’ communities including Cairns, Townsville and Perth. ‘Use Your Own Cup Day’ was started in New Zealand in 2018 by UYO.NZ.
Clare, Make the Switch Byron’s Coordinator said “we’ve been so blown away by the feedback from this campaign that Boomerang Alliance is now developing a toolkit so other cafes can also increase their use of reusables, reducing their costs and the impacts their business and customers have on our environment.”
Sidenote: Reusable cups are allowed under NSW Food Authority COVID advice
Clare Sullivan, Make the Switch Coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org| 0421 241 263
Learn more at www.plasticfreebyron.com/