Thursday, 26 November 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Successful Bring Your Own Cup Day in Coromandel Town

Cafés in Coromandel Town jumped on board to support a community driven initiative to promote reusable cups and reduce the volume of rubbish going to landfill.

Judy Rooney of Rethink Rubbish Coromandel Town said the group, which mainly consists of six volunteers, was thrilled with the level of enthusiasm from local cafés for Bring Your Own Cup Day on Friday, 30 October when an estimated 100 fewer throwaway cups were used by coffee lovers.

“In New Zealand, we go through around 300 million disposable coffee cups every year,” Judy said. “The vast majority go to landfill because there aren’t suitable recycling facilities for them in most areas of the country.”

BYO Cup Day was an opportunity to spread the word about the value of bringing your own cup with Rethink Rubbish Coromandel Town providing a range of vessels for sale at participating venues. “Some of the cafes had signs up promoting what was happening, they advertised it on their Facebook pages, and our group was out and about talking to people on the day and in the weeks leading up to it to help raise awareness,” Judy said.

Several outlets also offered and continue to offer discounts to customers who provide their own cup.

Rethink Rubbish Coromandel Town first established themselves several years ago as Plastic Free Coromandel as similar groups popped up across New Zealand with a particular focus on eliminating plastic bags. In 2018, their efforts were recognised nationally with the Community Group Award at the Keep New Zealand Beautiful annual honours. “We were making reusable bags from recycled materials and selling them in the community, and that was a real success,” Judy said. “Of course the conversation has moved on from there now and we are focusing on the need to more broadly reduce the amount of waste we are producing.”

Judy and her fellow volunteers are enthused by what is possible at community level. “I don’t see myself as an ardent greenie or anything like that,” Judy said. “Like most of us, I just care about the environment and I can see how by making small changes, collectively there are things that we can do to help.”

The group’s previous initiatives include providing water stations at local events and festivals where people can refill their bottles, holding beeswax wrap workshops, distributing recycled paper bags to stallholders at various markets and working with students at Coromandel Area School on producing reusable bags.

Looking ahead, Judy said future events always depend on the availability of volunteers, but she feels there is a strong level of support from within the community. “I think we probably will talk to the cafés and see if they would be on board to do another BYO cup day during the summer,” she said. “The feedback we have had so far was that almost all of the customers who came through on the day were interested and supportive, so hopefully everyone would be keen to do it again.”

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