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Two women standing behind a coffee machine holding a poster.

Coffee cup project changes attitudes

Wednesday 06 December

East Gippsland Shire Council is pleased with the success of its recent behavior-change project aimed at reducing the number of disposable hot drink cups (which are not recyclable in East Gippsland) used in the towns.


For six months this year, Council partnered with a number of café businesses in Orbost and Paynesville to deliver the Smart Takeaway Coffee Project.


The project promoted reusable cups and giving customers an incentive to use them, while also educating the community about the negative impacts of disposable coffee cups.


Disposable coffee cups are the second highest contributor to litter waste in Australia.


Council’s Waste Education Officer Michelle Kearns said although cups appear to be only made of paper, most contain a thin plastic lining that can prevent them from being recycled.


“This lining also means the cups can be a major pollution hazard if they become loose in the environment Aside from this, the resources that go into the manufacture, packaging and transportation of disposable coffee cups are wasted when the cups are immediately sent to landfill after a single use,” Ms Kearns said.


Each participating café received a number of Keep Cups in their business’ colours to distribute to their regular customers and staff along with a short survey.


Council also developed coffee reward cards and cafes kept daily tallies of the number of disposable cups being used compared to the reusable ones.


Council also ran an educational program to complement the project, and the Customer Service Centres in Orbost and Paynesville created displays from discarded coffee cups to raise awareness of the impact of coffee cup waste.


“The project has been a great success with positive feedback pouring in from participants and the wider community. Results from the cafes showed that 3,343 disposable cups were saved from landfill throughout the project’s duration,” Ms Kearns said.


Council acknowledges the support of the following businesses whose participation helped delivered this project.


  • Morganics
  • The Orbost Bakery
  • Two Little Owls Café
  • Cozy Café
  • Cafe 125
  • The Wishing Tree Café



  • Almas of Paynesville
  • The Fig Licensed Café
  • The Waterview Bakery


Smart Take Away Coffee Project case study


This project was funded by the Victorian Litter Innovation Fund, delivered by Sustainability Victoria.


Two women standing in front of a coffee machine in a cafe.

Orbost’s Cozy Café took part in the Smart Takeaway Coffee Project. Their customers got on board and were diligent in using their free Keep Cup when getting their cuppa.

Pictured are Bec Hough and Cozy Café owner Gail Johnson.


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