Create the change that you want to see in the world. Every action we do can have a snowball effect.

I've been thinking about this a lot with coffee. My book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness boasts 30 global experts sharing wisdom on living a healthier and happier life. A chapter is dedicated to sustainability and includes 10 top hacks on starting your sustainable living journey from Sarah Wilson, a best-selling author and the founder of

In the book, Sarah's Hack number three is all about ditching coffee cups. Sarah urges people to get their coffee in a mug and sit for five minutes in a café instead — and savour some precious pause moments too. Or she recommends people use a reusable keep-cup if they are genuinely on-the-run.

She reasons that 70 per cent of takeaway coffee cups are non-recyclable and non-biodegradable. This is mostly because they tend to be plastic-lined.


Ever since I interviewed Sarah for my book, I've been a keep-cup convert. I drank coffee with Sarah in a café while we had this discussion and I vowed to do my best with this going forwards.

I've noticed more cafes giving discounts (around 50 cents a cup) when I hand them my keep-cup to get coffee. I'm pleasantly surprised how common this is becoming. I was amazed at the response asking people to name cafes who did this when I did a post on my Instagram page on the topic recently.

Laura Cope, from Use Your Own Cup café guide, says Bay of Plenty and Dunedin cafés have been the best in driving the coffee reusable cup revolution in New Zealand.

According to their website, there are 42 cafes in the Bay of Plenty area that list with them offering different sustainability solutions of various kinds.

Wilson says if keep-cups are expensive for you, then just use a jam jar. She wraps plastic rubber bands around these so the jar doesn't brun your hand. Cheap, easy and effective!

Meanwhile, my advice is to seek out cafes who give you a discount for having your keep-cup, and care about looking after our planet. Every little bit counts. And remember to tag me in on any Instagram stories so we can give these cafes a virtual high-five for offering this service!

— Rachel Grunwell is a wellness expert and author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness. Order the book via Follow Rachel on Instagram (rachelgrunwell) or InspiredHealthNZ's Facebook (InspiredHealthNZ).