Surf Coast Shire launches reuse program for coffee cups

Last updated: 16 December 2022
wooden crate with colourful ceramic coffee mugs and sign that says Take away mug library Mug library at the Ocean Grind Cafe in Torquay.

Surf Coast Shire marks the start of the Great Ocean Road and is home to spectacular beaches, rich coastal biodiversity, and thriving recreational and tourism activities.

Like most of Victoria, the pandemic saw an increase in single-use takeaway coffee cups in the Surf Coast. To reduce waste generated by disposable coffee cups, the Surf Coast Shire teamed up with Responsible Cafes and launched a reuse program for single-use coffee cups.

As a part of this program, participating cafes receive Huskee cups and lids, compostable coffee cups, a resource pack including posters, social media tiles and map listing on the Responsible Cafes website and phone app.

The Huskee cup and lid can be used to swap for a pre-washed, fresh one in-store and the map listings allow people to find nearest participating cafe.

The impact

There are currently 18 cafes participating in the Responsible Cafes program in the Surf Coast Shire. Each month, these businesses eliminate 20,000 disposable coffee cups from circulation.

Cafes have also learned how to help customers who forget to bring their reusable coffee cup by starting a ‘mug library’. Mug libraries allow customers to take away their coffee in reusable mugs or cups and return these mugs on their next visit. This system works well with for regular customers.

Customer response

Customers will often take their reusable coffee cup and walk along the beach, returning it on their way back, helping to minimise the litter on the beach. This initiative encourages positive behaviour change and reduces the piling of unwanted cups that are destined for landfill.

What's next?

The cafes are now looking at implementing reusable containers for smoothies, composting coffee ground and other organic waste, increasing uptake of home-compostable items and increasing waste avoidance in the community.

Learn how your business can benefit from the Responsible Cafes program.