Let's be honest. Using the same cup every day for your takeaway coffee will not save the planet. But as with everything we need to be doing more of to reduce our impact on the environment, it's a start.
In Australia, we throw more than 1 billion disposable cups in the bin every year (about 50,000 cups every 30 minutes), and a huge percentage of those cups are unrecyclable. Whether or not something can be recycled depends on the amount of plastic it contains in proportion to paper. Researching exactly this, the environmental foundation Planet Ark found only half of the disposable cups used in shopping-centre cafes were suitable for even low-grade recycling. This is not just due to plastic lids, but also the plastic coating that stops coffee from seeping through the paper.
To break this cycle of waste, many of us have turned to reusable takeaway cups such as those produced by KeepCup, Hookturn, or even better, a cup or mug that’s already sitting in your cupboard.
To encourage the practice, many Melbourne cafes offer a discount to those of us who bring in our own vessel. Cafes such as Everyday Coffee and Cumulus Inc. sell their own reusable coffee cups and mugs (the Cumulus version was designed next door at Craft Victoria by artist Ingrid Tufts).
“At least 30 per cent of our regular customers bring in their own cups, whether it’s our keep-cup or their own mugs,” says Tyler Clark, barista at Cumulus Inc. “It’s been pretty consistent over the time I’ve been here. I think it’s made an impact.”
If you haven't already, now is the time to start making space in your bag for a reusable alternative. Here are a handful of cafes that will make it worth your while with a variety of discounts on your takeaway brew.
Collective Espresso Camberwell
Cumulus Inc. CBD
$3 for every Keep Cup coffee, no matter the order.
Dukes Coffee Roasters CBD
Pearson & Murphy’s CBD
Penny Farthing Espresso Northcote
Pocket Café North Melbourne
Spilt Milk Carnegie
Story Coffee & Foodstore Docklands
The Maling Room Roastery Canterbury
Northcote Bakeshop Northcote
Streat Collingwood and CBD
30c off, also sells 8oz and 12oz Keep Cups (plastic and glass range) starting at $13.
Two Little Pigs Brunswick
This article was updated on February 22, 2017.