I am a coffee addict, so recently, while watching Craig Reucassel spread a message for a sustainable future in his TV series, War on Waste, banging on about the disaster of disposable coffee cups, I immediately upped my game. I purchased a new keep cup by Frank Green and I use it most days. It’s not flawless, it’s get stinky if I don’t wash it straight away and it leaks after I wash it but I deal with these matters because it is a better alternative than a disposable cup, which for the most part, are NOT, I repeat, NOT RECYCLABLE.
I aspire towards a #zerowaste lifestyle. With kids, it’s near impossible but we do our best and in our efforts to uphold our most important values surrounding nature and the environment, we are, as a family, making a difference.
My biggest contribution is through a community compost. It’s community because it started in my neighbour’s backyard and then it spread. She had 2 compost bins sitting idly and a few veggie patches that needed some compost love. Within 3 months time of working her compost with the knowledge I had acquired through a permaculture design course (PDC) and a little trial and error, we were off. She also had chickens, their poo make the best compost ever and the eggs, well, what’s not to love? I collected compost from friends/neighbours and cafes. The cafes were my biggest hurdle, suprisingly, it should have been the easiest contribution, they have the most waste.
I asked cafes to supply food waste, they wouldn’t, they said it was too difficult to separate meat and dairy from fruit/veg. Is it really? The eggs you crack can’t go in a separate bucket? So I settled with used coffee grains, I would pick up at least one bag a week. Then another local cafe I noticed used more sustainable packaging for their cylinder coffee waste, it was from NZ, here’s a supplier if you’re interested. So I opted getting my used coffee grain for the compost from them instead. Still no food waste.
Then today, something clicked. Why don’t I care if the cafe I frequent on a daily basis gives a shit about the environment? What’s their one thing that sets them apart from all the other businesses. There are definitely restaurants and cafes out there that are working towards carbon neutrality, Ladro’s Pizza comes to mind, they have a closed loop system that processes food waste in 24 hours and you can buy in a bag for $2, BRILLIANT.
Fighting for the cause alone, running around helping cafes/businesses become more sustainably viable is exhausting and piecemeal. Cafes need a checklist and then we, as consumers, need a green star system or a badge that is obvious and honorable and will help consumers and businesses make better decisions about the source of their produce, packaging, food waste management, getting customers involved with backyard plots, community composting, food swaps, keep cup discounts. Consumers need guidance but small businesses need help too, it’s an exchange of resources and knowledge that will take us towards zero waste lifestyles.
See sharewaste – an app/website linking community composters, I have already had someone dump their food waste into my bin. Bokhashi is a brilliant intermediate composting system for business or homes without space for a garden compost bin.