Café blessed by drinking decision
YACKANDANDAH’S Saint Monday café has a bigger handle on takeaway coffee after it stocked up on ceramic mugs.
In a quest to be waste-free, café owners Chris McGorlick and Lauren Salathiel – who close to two years ago created their ethical business around lifestyle, community, social justice and environmental values – have expanded their existing small reusable mug stocks to combat the environmental impact of waste disposal.
To encourage patrons to do the same they’ve introduced a surcharge for drinks served in disposable cups.
Mr McGorlick said the move followed his discovery that the compost facility used by Indigo Shire through its waste contractor did not work for the “compostable” takeaway cups the café used.
“We can’t continue to use the cups in good conscience,” he said.
“We’ve stepped up a notch to completely do away with disposable cups and have increased our ceramic mugs sourced from opportunity shops in the area.”
With disposable cups dumped in landfill that emit greenhouse gases while decompos- ing, or end up as litter on streets and in waterways, Mr McGorlick said most people deemed the cafe’s project could make small changes for the better.
“People’s habits don’t change over the counter – it takes time seeing people doing the right thing,” he said.
The pair committed to the change in early summer and wanted to give their customers as much time as possible for the idea to become second-nature.
“We’ll bend over backwards to make sure people still feel that buying a take-away from us remains convenient – minus the environmental impact,” Mr McGorlick said.
With about two thirds of the 50 cent surcharge on disposable cups donated to ‘Clean Up Australia Day,’ the remainder would help replace unreturned ceramic mugs.
The ABC’s recent ‘War on Waste’ documentary estimated that Australians used one billion disposable coffee cups annually with around 90 percent going into landfill.
Mr McGorlick said the documentary mentioned that only around 10 disposal facilities around Australia could process them.
Although there would be a solution in the long-term, he said Saint Monday café had taken responsibility for an immediate problem.
A small back-up of disposables is available to meet some customer needs until a future move is made to eliminate the cups altogether.