Each year, 6.5 million trees are cut down to make disposable paper products. An estimated one billion coffee cups end up in landfill each year in Australia alone. That equates to roughly 2.7 million paper coffee cups thrown out every day. Every 30 seconds, 50,000 disposable coffee cups become landfill in Australia, and an estimated 500 billion coffee cups are produced and disposed on a global level.
Most of us assume that our disposable coffee cups are being recycled, but unfortunately the plastic membrane of these coffee cups that allow them to hold liquid makes the cups non-recyclable and non biodegradable.
When Penny Boyce, Assistant Centre Manager at Somerville Recreation Centre was looking at ways to improve sustainability at the centre, disposable coffee cups was top on her list of things to change. Penny began by asking all members who were attending group fitness classes to bring in their keep cups and drop them off at the cafe on the way to their classes.
On the way out, the hot drink of their choice was ready and waiting for them in their respective keep cups. “This practice has multiple benefits; it reduces the number of takeaway coffee cups used and disposed, and it promotes social and community inclusion through members staying and connecting socially after their class,” said Penny.
This new initiative also reduced the after-class rush for coffees as all orders had been taken and are only paid for after the class.
In addition to the keep cup initiative, Somerville Recreation Centre has also installed a new solar system that should result in a significant reduction in electricity use from the grid as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to the use of clean solar energy.