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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Plastic-free campaign floats around popular cafes

Lake Macquarie coffee drinkers are being encouraged to reduce waste and protect the environment after millions of takeaway cups went to landfill in 2020.

The Lake Macquarie Sustainable Neighbourhood Alliance has partnered with more than 30 cafes throughout the city to offer good quality, reusable coffee cups for $2 under a Plastic Free Cafes project.

Supported by a NSW Government Community Litter Grant, the project aims to minimise the amount of litter and waste created by single use plastic items, such as takeaway coffee cups and plastic straws. 

The first rollout was completed in Warners Bay and Toronto in March 2020 before the pandemic brought it to a halt.

However, group secretary Stephen Dewar said many cafes were starting to accept reusable cups again using COVIDSafe methods.

“We’ve got 35 cafes in total and, on the information we handed out to them, we showed them the safe way to be careful with reusables – to just pour it in and the customer is the only one who touches the cup,” he said.

“Many of these cafes are offering a discount for choosing reusable. All we ask is that customers give a donation of $2 for the cup and clean it after each use.

“Single-use coffee cups are not recyclable, and they either end up in landfill or littering our streets, parks and waterways.

“We want to make it easier for people to join the thousands of other Lake Macquarie residents who are making the switch away from single-use plastics.”

Clean Up Australia estimates that one billion disposable coffee cups are used every year, which means about 2.7 million are thrown out each day.

Mr Dewar added that, once the Plastic Free Cafes project was complete, the group had another target in mind.

“There’s a lot of takeaway with tradies, so that’s what we’ll be targeting after the cafes,” he said.

“In a big clean up, we found that [some] tradies come in quickly to get a burger or coffee or they go to a little coffee truck and then maybe chuck it on their way out.

“So, we’re going to really concentrate on that.”

Visit the group’s website for more information or to find a local café.

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