Dunedin cafe signals the end of the takeaway coffee cup

By David Beck

Otago Polytechnic functions and catering executive chef Mark Lane wants to ban paper takeaway cups at the Eden Cafe in the polytechnic's student hub. Photo: David Beck/Otago Daily Times
Otago Polytechnic functions and catering executive chef Mark Lane wants to ban paper takeaway cups at the Eden Cafe in the polytechnic's student hub. Photo: David Beck/Otago Daily Times

A cafe in the Otago Polytechnic Student Hub is aiming to reduce its carbon footprint by getting rid of paper takeaway cups.

Polytechnic functions and catering executive chef Mark Lane said while looking for sustainable options, he and his Eden Cafe staff realised Dunedin did not have the capacity to deal with recycling paper cups.

"Most go to the landfill,'' Mr Lane said."We started thinking why we need these cups at all.''

One of Mr Lane's colleagues collected survey responses on the drinking habits of customers in the area.

"We found about 90% of them drink their coffee within 50m of the cafe,'' he said.

"It's also something that's crept into the culture - even when you don't need a takeaway cup, some people still ask for one.

"We didn't feel comfortable with that so we want to make people think about their habits and whether they really need it.''

The cafe was trying to find different ways for people to have and enjoy their coffee.

"We have different kinds of keep-cups.

"We're going to try a keep-cup swap so visitors can have one they don't need to buy - they can just bring it back.

"We're also buying ceramic and china cups from charity shops - it creates a nice closed loop.

"A lot of them cost 20c, which is about the same as a paper cup.

"People can take them away if they want and bring them back later.''

The cafe was doing a soft trial of the changes during Orientation Week with the hope the idea would gain enough momentum to lead to a total ban of paper takeaway cups.

"It's a hard thing to change people's habits, so it takes a little while.

"Being at a polytechnic that puts so much focus on sustainability helps. All the staff buy into it and are really supportive.''

- Otago Daily Times

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