In a bid to do their bit for the planet, Rotorua's Toi Ohomai cafe is getting rid of single-use coffee cups for good.
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology hospitality manager Bryon Dorrian has taken the plunge and decided the Melting Pot Cafe on Mokoia Campus will lead by example and completely remove disposable coffee cups by June 24.
The transition began last week, on World Environment Day with the Toi Ohomai organisational goal to divert 50 per cent of waste sent to landfills by 2020 in mind.
This was the first goal under "Kaitiakitanga: A framework for sustainability", which was developed last year.
On average the Melting Pot made about 1250 coffees a week with the majority of the cups they came in being thrown away.
"That is a lot of rubbish left to dispose of every week," Dorrian said.
Takeaway coffee cups are lined and bound with polyethylene plastic which stops the paper cup from leaking or going soggy but means they cannot be recycled in New Zealand.
The Sustainable Business Network has estimated a person who drank five coffees a week could produce about 14kg of waste each year.
This was motivation enough for Dorrian to declare the cafe would stop using the cups.
He said hospitality, a consumption industry, was hard on the planet and needed to work with sustainability at the forefront.
"As individuals operating in the industry, we can make a significant difference in terms of climate change, animal welfare, fair trade, packaging and food waste and how we treat people," Dorrian said.
Cafe manager Vanessa Dunn said it was just like getting used to taking your own bag to the supermarket and a countdown was put on the till to prepare customers for the change.
"The whole purpose of the initiative was to reduce rubbish and encourage more people to reuse rather than recycle."
She said compostable disposable cups would not be used either because they presented just as much of a problem environmentally.
"Although it seems like a cute option, most don't hold liquid properly, not to mention that it cannot be composted without the correct facilities."
Those who go to the cafe could either bring their own cup or use ones provided.
The cafe has also set up a "Swap a Cup" membership programme where customers can pay $10 a term to rent a cup, supplied by Cuppa Coffee Cup.