Disposable coffee cups are officially in the bin at Saint Monday.
The Yackandandah cafe made the decision to phase out the single-use cups they were using after learning they could not be composted at Indigo Council’s facilities.
Owner Chris McGorlick said customers could bring their own reusable takeaway cups or borrow one from the cafe’s “mug library”.
“It really started with War On Waste,” he said.
“We found out there were only a dozen facilities around the country that can (compost the cups), so very few places actually have access to those facilities.
“Close to two months ago we started offering reusable takeaway cups, to practise having conversations with people.
“Now all our coffees come standard in reusable mugs.”
Disposable cups will be used as a last resort and attract a 50-cent surcharge – 30 cents going to Clean Up Australia Day.
Use of the mug library has soared from 40 per cent in the first couple weeks to 80 per cent after the surcharge was introduced.
Mr McGorlick said people who were initially confronted by the idea often came to agree with the reasoning.
“They walk in imagining what will happen and it’s about presenting a different set of alternatives,” he said.
“A lot of people will choose to stay for five minutes and drink a coffee here, and we expect our mug library will run down over time,” he said.
“If the mugs don’t make their way back that’s fine with us – there’s plenty of mugs in our waste stream and the other 20 cents from the surcharge we will use to maintain the mug library.
“We’e going to do things to get people before they come into the cafe by spreading the word with accommodation provides and giving people the heads up it’s a plastic-wise town.”
The cafe already employs a range of anti-waste measures – they reduce packaging and craft their menu around produce donated by customers and locals.
Their next goal is to have green waste composted locally and Mr McGorlick believes the phasing out of disposable cups across the board is “inevitable”.
“There is a very distinct general shift away from single-use plastics,” he said.
“They are easy to replace with something else, whether it’s water bottles, shopping bags or coffee cups – they will be the first things eliminated.
“Once there’s been a strong take-up of those things, the forward-thinkers will be looking at ways to reduce waste in other areas.”