The French government has made a bold decision this week in the name of reducing waste and tackling climate change - good on them!
By committing to ban disposable cups and plates by 2020 - except those that are completely compostable - France is taking a huge step towards tackling the one million coffee cups that reach landfill every minute. Perhaps it's time that Britain took the leap?
For any who've been following the #WasteNot and Hugh's War on Waste campaigns, you'll be aware that single use coffee cup waste is a massive issue in the UK. About seven million paper coffee cups are used in Britain each day, amounting to 2.5 billion a year. However, fewer than one in 400 coffee chain paper cups are recycled.
Almost all compostable and biodegradable cups have to be processed in a commercial composting facility, not in household compost. What's worse, they require a dedicated collection because waste sorting is unable to differentiate compostable cups from other disposable cups, meaning they all go to landfill.
Here in the UK the debate has been raging on for several months now. Almost daily a new perpetrator is blamed and a new solution raised. Would a 5p levy solve the issue? Do we need to set up better recycling facilities? Can we just produce better, more environmentally friendly cups? Or should we, like France, ban the paper cup altogether?
It will take effort on all fronts to change behavioural norms to get people to consider the impact of our assumptions about convenience and its trade offs. Half of the plastic used in the world today is for single use items.
We often get asked about what our products are made from. For many when we answer, virgin plastic, its an excuse for people to disengage. We cannot buy our way to a sustainable outcome with products made narrowly claimed 'organic' or 'recycled' products.
The first principle of sustainability is reduce - reduce consumption. Using a reusable plastic cup is better than a plastic lined disposable cup by approximately 3kg of plastic, every year. The problem is less about materiality than it is about volume. The best reusable is the one you use.
Our society is set up only to measure consumption, Peter Dresser coined this as the Clothesline Paradox - how do you measure the impact of putting your clothes on the line rather than an electric dryer? How do you measure the impact of not consuming?
The disposable cup tax or an added cost to the consumer is a means of stopping and asking - why? Do I need that bag, disposable bottle, cup, what is a better way?
This issue isn't just about the coffee chains, the supermarkets, the packaging companies, and the waste disposal units. Most importantly its about all of us as consumers, we have been sold convenience as a form of prestige, and it simply isn't worth the price.
We are great believers in the power of bottom up consumer action to change the world. Already 3.5 billion cups have been diverted from landfill due to our KeepCup customers alone. For us it's about advocating permission to reuse and supporting it, providing and advertising a reuse discount, providing reusables in all eat-in environments.
Through collective consumer action, we can make an enormous dent on this issue. The reuse revolution has already started and is going strong. Check the facts out for yourself at our ReuseHQ.
It started in a Melbourne café in 2008 with a simple idea
KEEP IT AND USE IT AGAIN.
Today KeepCup is embraced all over the world. Everyday, reusers divert millions of disposable cups from the waste stream, and through their actions, inspire others to do the same.
Many of the team at KeepCup are Star Wars fans, and so the battle between the dark and the light, convenience and care, seemed a fitting way to celebrate great design and continue to encourage reuse. The best reusable is the one you use, so we made sure our Star Wars x KeepCups are pleasing to the eye, but also practical.
Star Wars KeepCups are designed for everyday, so they are subtle, but identifiable to all those in the galaxy who know the ways of the force.
Pre order now available from store.keepcup.com
Earlier this year, Caffeine magazine published an article stating that London alone creates about 200,000 tonnes of spent coffee grounds each year – the vast majority of which ends up in a landfill. In 2015, KeepCup are teaming up with Minor Figures Cold Brew to launch their recycled coffee soap.
KeepCup and Minor Figures share a connection. Minor Figures founder, Stuart Forsyth, is the brother of KeepCup founders, Abigail and Jamie. The two companies share a similar reuse and sustainability ethos and commitment to supplying environmentally friendly products.
“Minor Figures use only the best single origin coffee available and we brew in very large batches. It seemed like there might be a better second life for this coffee” said Stuart.
Minor Figures has created two environmentally friendly products – a ‘Coffee Soap’ and a ‘Coffee Scrub’. Both are handmade with an olive oil base and a careful balance of essential oils & spent coffee; designed to invigorate and exfoliate the skin. Both products are SLS free.
Between May 11th and June 30th, the Minor Figures Coffee Soap can be purchased from www.keepcup.com.
“KeepCup is delighted to feature another sustainably focused product that speaks to our family connections, sustainability focus and love of the coffee industry” said Abigail.
For every soap or scrub purchased Minor Figure’s donate 10p (20c AUD) to Allegra Foundation’s Project Waterfall. Allegra Foundation is a charity committed to increasing access to clean water: “90% of coffee is grown in developing countries, where 60% of people don’t have access to clean water.
In 2009, Abigail and Jamie Forsyth kick started a behavioural change in Melbourne which has spread worldwide. KeepCup is now global, with offices in Melbourne, LA and London and support from distributors in 32 countries worldwide. The environmental footprint of our products has always been important to us, and we are committed to local manufacture where possible. Sustainability is at the heart of the business and we’re always looking for new ways to make the coffee industry more sustainable.
About Minor Figures
Stuart Forsyth; brother of Abigail and Jamie, began Minor Figures Cold Brew in London with partners Jonathan Chiu and Will Rixon in 2014. Minor Figures use only the best single origin coffee available. Cold brewing is the gentlest extraction method, which is the reason the drink is smoother and sweeter to taste.
Although still relatively new to the market, Minor Figures cold brew can now be found in Selfridges London, amongst other popular cafes and retailers.
Minor Figures Stockist enquiries UK – Stuart Forsyth | firstname.lastname@example.org
Minor Figures stockist enquiries Australia – Jonathan Chiu | email@example.com
Allegra and Project waterfall - Rebecca Hodgson | 0207 691 8821 | firstname.lastname@example.org
KeepCup - Adam Katsonis | +61384171100 | email@example.com
Thanks to your support of our business and our brand, in 2014 we gave $40,000 USD to Coffee Kids to carry out their Strengthening Family Food Security project in Honduras. This program has been running since 2011 and acts to support women and their families in Honduras.
Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Central America, there are many single parent families, 58% of the rural population suffers malnutrition. The program focused on 60 women in rural areas who, between them, care for over 200 people. These women have to provide role of caretaker and breadwinner, a challenging task given their limited resources.
Our donation created sixty small scale family vegetable gardens complete with drip irrigation systems to support these families. Over the course of the year, these women were then trained and mentored in garden management, irrigation, nutrition and planning. It is hoped that in the future the women will be able to sell extra produce to provide income for their families.
It’s a terrific achievement made possible thanks by the brilliant support we have received from our customers and KeepCup users.
We are reminded of the words of the late Wangari Maathai
"Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible, is an idea whose time has come"
Well done. Reusers, we salute you.
KeepCup the business, started in 2008 in a Melbourne Café as a simple idea; keep it and use it again. KeepCup designed and manufactured the world’s first barista standard reusable cup, and since then have helped people enjoy better coffee on the go and cut down the number of disposable cups entering the waste stream.
However, achievements in reducing disposable cup waste over the past six years have been difficult to quantify – how do you measure the impact of NOT doing something?
Moreover the impact is not being made by the business, but by KeepCup users.
So, with the help of Studio Thick, KeepCup have created Reuse HQ.
Individuals can now visit reusehq.keepcup.com and pledge their reuse undertaking. Reuse HQ aggregates the results across organisations and countries to provide a snapshot of collective action. The impact of reuse from user submitted data – in energy, disposable cups, and landfill.
Reuse HQ helps KeepCup customers and end users measure their impact, and engages and incentivises them to keep up the good work. KeepCup has designed an implementation program to support Reuse HQ within organizations and drive reuse. It’s another opportunity for KeepCup to demonstrate commitment to our core mission – reducing disposable cup waste.
“For some time we have struggled with a way to quantify the collective action of KeepCup users. It’s a project that has been dear to me and I hope it provides inspiration and encouragement that, however small, action counts”
said Abigail Forsyth, KeepCup CEO.
For each sign up in December, KeepCup will donate $5 to their charity partner, Coffee Kids. KeepCup aim to donate $40,000 to COMUCAP’s Strengthening Family Food Security project before January 1st 2015.
Visit reusehq.keepcup.com and join the revolution today.
For further information or a KeepCup media kit please contact:
Adam Katsonis – Brand Manager
Phone: 613 8417 1100
KeepCup started with a problem in a café – too many disposable cups. Every minute around the world over one million disposable cups are discarded to landfill. Existing reusables were too large to fit under the group heads of the machine and were at best utilitarian in appearance.
With no options available to resell, we saw the opportunity to design and make our own. We designed and manufactured the first barista standard reusable cup.
Since June 2009 we have sold over three million KeepCups, and users have diverted billions of disposable cups from landfill. KeepCups are now sold in 32 countries around the world.
KeepCup has offices and production hubs in Australia, the UK and US and is supported by 25 global distribution partners.
Many small acts will make a phenomenal difference.