OPINION

Sustainable coffee scheme thrives in western Sydney

Sustainable coffee scheme thrives in western Sydney

Western Sydney cafes and coffee lovers have saved almost 30,000 single use takeaway cups from going into landfill, in the first 12 months of the Refill Don't Landfill swap-and-go program.

Rising to the challenges of 2020, Western Sydney coffee drinkers and businesses have embraced the program, placing the region squarely on the map of sustainability-conscious communities.

We know that single use plastics are harmful to the environment and to the health of the planet, yet in Australia alone, more than a billion single use takeaway cups are sent to landfill every year. It takes a united effort between businesses, government and people to deliver change.

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) partnered in 2020 with Australian sustainability champions, Green Caffeen, introducing the established reusable coffee cup system to western Sydney as a way for cafes to save money and reduce waste.

While undeniably challenging, local cafes incorporated new protocols at the onset of the pandemic, which incorporated COVID-safe practices and provided assurance to customers, which helped to keep the program in place.

In its first year, the EPA-funded Refill Don't Landfill campaign saw 45 local cafes sign up and more than 1000 locals download and register, using the Green Caffeen app. In 2021, WSROC extended participation in the scheme for a further six months.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, businesses continue to adapt and support the program, achieving substantial results during a year of unprecedented social and commercial challenges. Our region's cafes and communities are to be commended for signing up and persisting throughout difficult times.

The campaign's results are remarkable and show that communities throughout Western Sydney are looking for more ways to reduce waste in our daily lives. The Refill Don't Landfill campaign brings

Western Sydney within a network of communities Australia-wide who support a more sustainable approach. Minister for Energy and the Environment Matt Kean recently endorsed the launch of the Green Caffeen program, in his Sydney constituency.

The app-based Green Caffeen reusable cup scheme is free to use and features a map identifying where to locate your nearest participating café. The scheme is in place Australia-wide, and you can return your coffee cup to any participating café.

Key stats for 'Refill Don't Landfill' campaign:

Total cups saved: 29,822

Total users: 1062

Region active cafes: 45

Full bins saved from landfill: 299

Trees still standing: 13

Carbon offset: 1.63 Tonnes