Sustainable Bubble Tea
As part of our Let’s Strain the Drains project in Melbourne, Victoria, we are working with Kinoi to develop a Sustainable Bubble Tea campaign.
What is bubble tea and why is it a problem?
Bubble Tea, also known as “Boba” or “Pearl Milk Tea” is black tea, milk, ice and chewy tapioca pearls all shaken together and served with an easily identifiable chunky plastic straw, plastic cup and fused plastic. If purchased as takeaway, customers are usually given the drink in a small branded plastic carry bag. The drink originates from Taiwan and has become incredibly popular across the globe and is growing exponentially across Australia.
With the increasing rise in popularity of this drink, Tangaroa Blue Foundation are seeing a worrying increase of bubble tea identified litter making its way into waterways and coastal areas. Any plastic being littered and ending up in stormwater drains then eventually out at sea poses a serious threat to marine life, so stopping this litter at the source is an important step in decreasing the environmental damage that single use plastic imposes on our community and environment.
This photo is a sample of bubble tea litter found during the Let’s Strain the Drains project currently underway across eight council areas in Melbourne. Some traps can have over 100 bubble tea litter items collected in a single trap by Tangaroa Blue Foundation staff and volunteers.
Source Reduction Plan for bubble tea
The source reduction plan for bubble tea wastes is integral to the purpose and strategy for the Let’s Strain the Drains Project. The plan aims to reduce bubble tea plastic litter surrounding Port Phillip Bay and promote reusables. We also hope to support Victorian bubble tea retailers and residents for the upcoming Victorian Single-Use Plastic Ban in February 2023 when plastic straws, cups and bags will be banned.
The bubble tea source reduction plan is a collaboration between Tangaroa Blue Foundation, KINOI, City of Melbourne, City of Maribyrnong, and the City of Greater Dandenong.
This project is supported by the Recycling Victoria Communities Fund, delivered by Sustainability Victoria on behalf of the Victorian Government.