Australians throw out 2.7 million single-use or disposable coffee cups every single day.
Canberra's award-winning Ona Coffee uses the same number over the course of 12 months, but not for much longer. It is announcing a new sustainability initiative to eliminate all single-use cups from its wholesale distribution and in its venues.
Ona founder Sasa Sestic says the staggering figure of cups shocked management and staff alike, prompting the movement to eliminate single-use cups.
"We sat down as a team and discussed ways in which we could reduce this number of cups, including finding more recyclable alternatives," he said.
"Not long ago we made the switch to paper cups, which were fully recyclable in the ACT and NSW, but with the recent fires across the east coast of Australia, these facilities have been affected.
"Although there are some more recyclable and biodegradable alternatives for single-use cups, we see the problem being more with the single-use culture. We want to set an example and show that reusable cups can and should be the standard in Australia."
Ona will begin the roll out of the new initiative with the opening of its latest venue, Ona Coffee Melbourne, in April. Other venues will follow on from that.
Sestic realises it will be a matter of education for customers and staff alike.
"It's a bit like remembering to take your plastic bags when you go to the supermarket," he says.
"The only difference is that if you forget a bag, it only costs 10 cents to buy one, but reusable cups can be expensive."
Ona marketing manager Jordan Montgomery said the uptake of cup-swap programs was a little slower than they had hoped. Ona introduced the Green Caffeen cups in August 2019.
"We're not going to force the hand of anyone to be more sustainable, we're just giving people more options," Montgomery said.
"We're not going to take away takeaway cups overnight, but rather say here are all the options, but soon we won't have the option that you're used to. It might take us 12 months it might take 24, but we want to be that first domino in this process.
"The use of single-use products has been a contentious subject in both public and industry sectors for several years.
"The emergence of more reusable products and cup-swap programs such as KeepCup, Green Caffeen, Husky and ReturnR have provided viable alternatives to these single-use products.
"We don't have any excuse not to use them anymore, and the ongoing use of single use products will continue to harm the planet."
The announcement comes as Ona Coffee enters its 12th year, and follows the announcement of its conversion to solar energy at its headquarters and roastery in Fyshwick.