Make The Switch To Reusable Cups

13 Sep 2019 | 12.18 pm

Make The Switch To Reusable Cups

Conscious Cup Campaign helps business eliminate disposable cups

13 Sep 2019 | 12.18 pm

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The Conscious Cup Campaign helps Origin Green members make the switch to reusable cups and eventually eliminate the use of disposable cups in Ireland, writes Sorcha Kavanagh, Campaign Co-Ordinator

In Ireland we consume 22,000 single-use cups every hour! The Conscious Cup Campaign is a non-profit initiative started by a group of volunteers in Ireland in 2016. We were concerned about the waste and environmental impact caused by single-use coffee cups, which have become the poster child of our throwaway culture. Our plan was to encourage consumers to carry their own cup, going back up the waste hierarchy towards Reuse, by preventing waste in the first place.

A levy on goods is proven to significantly change consumer behaviour, but without that we sought about setting up Conscious Cafés that would offer a discount or incentive to consumers bringing their own reusable cup. Thanks to the help of supporters all across the country, we have established a network of 2,000 participating cafés. These cafés are geotagged on our online map and promoted across our social media.

Our supporters include Tidy Towns, community groups, schools, universities and of course organisations. They work in their local areas to increase awareness about single use with toolkits from our website. We also work with private and public organisations to decrease their consumption of single-use cups within the workplace.

Our campaign is funded by the Regional Waste Offices and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment since 2018. It has been a finalist for numerous awards, including Repak’s Innovation in Waste Management, Green Awards, and the Conscious Cup Campaign won an award in Brussels for European Week of Waste Reduction in 2018. The campaign is featured in the government’s Climate Action Plan and also the Green Procurement Policy.

How does the campaign work with Origin Green member companies?

We assist Origin Green members to decrease their dependency on single-use items within their catering departments by providing organisations with the solutions and the support to move back to Reuse models. We look at how the current in-house catering operates, and provide advice on how to bring about change and increase awareness within the company at the same time. The campaign is supported by Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment, who also deliver recycling and waste prevention workshops to employees in a ‘Lunch and Learn’ format.

Some organisations that have previously used up to 3,000 cups per week made the switch to reusable coffee cups, thus achieving environmental and financial benefits by empowering their employees to take positive action to combat climate change and environmental degradation. What had previously been viewed to be an arduous task has become very achievable with the right support.

Talking Circular Economy

While there is pressure to switch from single-use plastics, it is just as imperative that we do not find ourselves switching to another single-use non-plastic alternative. As we move towards the Circular Economy, we have a great opportunity to design out waste by embracing traditional reuse models. It’s easy when you know how!

 

• If you are interested in reducing your use of single-use cups, please contact: Sorcha Kavanagh, Coordinator, Conscious Cup Campaign, at info@consciouscup.ie

• For more information on the Origin Green programme, visit origingreen.ie

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