• Priyanka Roy

Let’s make coffee great again

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

We love coffee, that’s a known fact. But how much do we know about takeaway coffee cups? Let’s give it a go – how many coffee cups do Kiwis use every year?


10 million, 70 million, 295 million


Take a guess.


295 million! That’ right.


We guzzle our way through 295 million cups of takeaway coffee every year. Most can’t be recycled because paper cups are lined with plastic called PLAs and PLEs to stop the liquid from spilling. Hence, they end up in a landfill and contaminate the recycle stream.

It’s a complex issue that dates back decades and, it looks like it’s going to continue into the immediate future unless we change our habits.


So, what did I do to fix this issue?


Of course, I woke up one day and said – I am going to quit coffee. Well, that’s a joke. That ain’t happening anytime soon 🙂

So, let me share two simple, but effective approaches I’ve adopted since the past 8-9 months and I challenge you to try the same.


1. No take-away, take it at the café.

Having lived here for 5 years now, I can safely say that people love to catch up over coffee. Everything happens over coffee –


Let’s catch up for a quick meeting. I’ll buy you coffee.

Let’s have an interview over coffee.

Haven’t met you in two weeks, let’s catch up for coffee.


In fact, my coffee consumption has gone from zero to a cup a day ever since I moved to NZ. So, here’s what happens. Someone invites you over for a coffee, you decide what you want, and you place your order. The barista asks – have it here or take-away? Now, because you think you may want to walk with the coffee or may not be able to finish it at the café, you sometimes order it in a take-away cup.


It is an unconscious decision and I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. I’m saying that it can be avoided. Believe me – if you pause and think, often, you will order the coffee in a normal china cup. And while you do that, you will also nudge your coffee companion to do the same. It has worked for me!


Now the side effects of this are – you have saved 2 take-away cups! Plus, you have enjoyed the unique and beautiful ambience the cafe has to offer, and maybe you’ve also glanced through some creative magazines that are often found lurking at the cafe that might spark some ideas. So, no take-away, take it at the cafe.


2. BYOC – Bring your own cup


Have you seen this brilliant invention – Keep Cup.

keep cup

These are reusable cups made by an Australian coffee company. I bought one of these for $26 and have been using it ever since. It has also become a good freebie at conferences, so you may get one of these there.


Some benefits that I’ve found with these cups are:

  1. They come in different colors – plain & simple, professional, minimal, jazzy, sporty. The entire spectrum. Choose one that matches your personality.

  2. They last 3 years.

  3. They are highly sustainable.

  4. They are dish-washer friendly.

  5. Plus, carrying them around – you feel like you are part of a revolution.

  6. And last, but not the least, baristas offer up to 50 cent discounts if you bring your own cup.

Go, get yourself one!


So, dear readers. I’ve shown you two simple ways you can make coffee drinking great again! I urge you to take on this challenge. No one says we will solve the world’s plastic problem, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step or shall we say a single cup 🙂


#coffee #environment #waste #zerowaste #keepcup #earth

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