Takeaway without throwaway – coffee cups-as-a-service launches in Britomart, inner city precincts
Auckland coffee drinkers will soon have a convenient, eco-friendly option for their daily takeaway coffee when reusable cup lending company Again Again launches its revolutionary system on 11 June in partnership with Britomart precinct and other inner city locations.
A total of 30 cafes around inner Auckland have joined the launch including Hipgroup’s Amano and The Store, Good Karma in North Wharf, Crave in Kingsland, and cafe leaders in CityWorks Depot and Ponsonby Central.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Britomart Precinct, as well as Auckland’s well-known and established coffee businesses to collectively enable a solution to an enormous problem – the way convenience in modern society produces waste. Convenience doesn’t have to mean waste. We’ve already proved that in Wellington, and now we’re set to take on Auckland,” says Again Again
cofounder Nada Piatek.
Again Again provides a fleet of reusable steel cups, silicone lids and cardboard heat sleeves available by deposit and return at participating cafes. Customers order their coffee as usual. They pay a $3 deposit when they “check out” a cup, which is fully refunded when they return the cup to any café in the Again Again network. Again Again then manages cup redistribution around its network of cafes. The system focuses on the “convenience” side of takeaway coffee. “Other personal reusable cups and direct one-in-one-out cup exchange models still mean that people have to plan in advance, remembering to wash and bring their cups with them every time. It just doesn’t happen. Everyone wants to be good, but in the moment, they forget,” says Piatek.
The company’s early business research showed that fewer than 5% of coffees are served in personal reusable cups, Piatek says.
“If they were a genuine solution for convenient takeaway coffee, New Zealand wouldn’t still be sending 295 million disposable cups to landfill every year. In Australia, it’s a billion. That’s why we designed a reusable cups-as-a-service system for mass adoption.” The company estimates that in Britomart alone they will save upwards of 110,000 cups, and their a year from landfill.
Again Again first piloted in November last year, with 14 popular Wellington cafes taking part in a two-month trial including Peoples Coffee, Superfino, Fidel’s, and Maranui. With the early assistance of a $10,000 waste minimisation grant from Wellington City Council, the cup system is now expanding fast in both Wellington and Auckland. All 14 pilot cafes subscribed commercially at the end of the initial pilot and Again Again now has 40 Wellington cafes on board, including the
prestigious Mojo network.
“The pilot proved that cafes could easily get customer takeup of Again Again’s cups to the point where the system costs them less than buying disposable cups,” said Piatek. “It just makes good sense – for business as well as the planet.”
With whanaungatanga, community responsibility, in its core values, Again Again is also a for-profit social enterprise. A portion of its cafe revenues goes to community partners to support waste minimisation education initiatives.
“Our mission is to make reuse as normal as the convenience of takeaway coffee. Anywhere, every time. People already want to do the right thing, now we’ve provided a system that makes that possible without sacrificing convenience.”
And Again Again’s impact on the waste problem? The company estimates that with Auckland’s initial 30 cafes joining the 48 already subscribed in Wellington, they’ll be collectively diverting 80,000 cups from waste per month. That’s not too bad for a business that’s been running commercially for just three months.
Background – what about compostables?
Cafes have been quick to take up compostable alternatives, but with only 12 sites nationwide able to compost PLA-lined cups, and minimal infrastructure available publicly for such cups to access these sites, a low proportion are actually composted, the cups instead adding to landfill and releasing methane as they degrade. In the UK, which has better commercial composting facilities than New
Zealand, only 1 in 400 cups reach appropriate facilities, according to a UK parliamentary report on disposable cup waste.
New Zealanders send an estimated 295 million cups to landfill each year, according to The Packaging Forum. Most of these cups are used once and discarded.
●Again Again eliminates single-use waste from New Zealanders’daily coffee habits.
●Fleet of reusable steel cups, silicone lids, and cardboard heat sleeves for cafes to lend for$3 refundable deposit.
●30 cafes have joined the Auckland launch – including Hipgroup’s Amano and The Store,Good Karma in North Wharf, Crave and Kind in Kingsland and many others in the central city, Ponsonby, and Kingsland.
●40 Wellington cafes are already subscribed to Again Again including the entire Mojonetwork, with the system growing rapidly as new cafes come on in both cities.
●Coffee lovers who want to know where they can get a waste-free coffee can find cafelocations here: https://www.againagain.co/map
●Cafes who’d like to join the system or who want to find out more can get everything theyneed to know and do here: https://www.againagain.co/cafe-info
●Again Again solves the barriers to zero-waste coffee:
○for customers: provides convenience in the moment – no need to always
remember to wash and bring a personal reusable cup
○for cafes: will cost the same or less than purchasing single use cups and retains thebranding opportunity provided by single-use cups