Coffee Cups in the City of Melbourne

Following the City of Melbourne Source Reduction Plan workshop in May 2017, participants decided that a reduction in single use coffee cups would be a good goal to set to reduce local litter. Participants also wanted to gain insight into the reasons people don’t use BYO coffee cups to inform alternative approaches to reducing this form of litter.

In order to engage the most number of people quickly, this project aimed to sign up local cafes to the Responsible Cafes program. This established network provides them free promotion for offering customers a discount for using their own BYO coffee cup. 49 cafes were engaged about the program, and 13 signed up (although two were signed up with insufficient time to collect data on).

After a month of becoming a “Responsible Café” the impact was measured by emailng a survey to ask them to estimate any change in BYO cups since signing up. Based on their estimation of increased customers using BYO coffee cups, a daily increase was calculated and multiplied to obtain an estimate for the full period each café was a Responsible Cafee over the length of this project. Cafes reported via a follow up survey that they collectively saved 2154 disposable cups from landfill over the 3 months.

A newspaper article, use of media kiosks and posters were effective awareness raising components that supported the project goals. A consumer survey was done to understand peoples reasons for using or not using BYO coffee cups. It found the biggest reason people did not want a BYO coffee cup was because it was too hard to carry. For those that did own a BYO cup, 44% always used it, 25% used it most of the time, 19% used it sometimes, and 12% never used it. People who bought their own cup were much more likely to use it than people who were given one.

BYO Infographic

Thanks to Sustainability Victoria and the Litter Innovation Fund and the City of Melbourne for supporting this project. A special thanks to Kate Arnold, Zi Xie and Lourdes Sanchez for their work on creating and implementing this Source Reduction Plan.

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