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Join the buzz and register as a Responsible Café

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A new partnership is brewing to create a more sustainable Surf Coast and support local cafes to reduce their waste.

Surf Coast Shire Council has partnered with Responsible Cafes – a not-for-profit program supporting local cafes to reduce their plastic waste and single-use cups.

Council now invites local cafes to join the program, with the first 30 cafes that register as a Responsible Café to receive a starter pack of reusable Huskee cups worth over $300.

GROW Anglesea is one of 13 cafes which has already signed up for the initiative, with owner Lyndelle Flintoft believing small steps can make a big difference.

“I know sometimes sustainability can feel like it could cost more money but things like bringing your own coffee cup to the shop, everybody can do that,” she said. “It’s about taking little steps – not buying things wrapped in plastic, considering if something has been made by a local designer rather than a mass producer.

“It takes a little bit more effort but it’s all possible. If you’re someone who wants to start at the basics, bringing in your own coffee cup and being conscious about what you’re consuming is a great start.”

Mayor Cr Libby Stapleton praised cafes which had registered for the Responsible Cafes program, aligning with Council’s strategy to foster businesses that reflect local character and values, including sustainable principles.

Each business that registers with the program will also be promoted on a nationwide Responsible Cafes map, receive support and advice on getting set-up and social media templates and posters to communicate the initiative to customers.

The Mayor encouraged people using disposable takeaway cups to make the switch to reusable.

“It’s fantastic to see all the other ways that cafes are reducing waste, including being plastic bag and container free, offering free water refills, and composting coffee grounds and food waste. It all helps,” Cr Stapleton said.

“At the start of COVID-19 lockdowns, a lot of people’s good habit of taking their own cup to a café was put on pause due to the uncertainty of the virus. This led to a huge increase in the number of single use takeaway coffee cups being used and then thrown away.”

Responsible Cafes data estimates that pre-COVID, an average café served 75 take away coffees each day. It also highlights that almost all disposable cups have a plastic lining, which means they can’t be put in a kerbside recycling bin and end up in landfill, or littered.

“The Surf Coast Shire area has more than 70 cafes, which means we could be generating more than 1.9 million disposable cups each year,” Cr Stapleton said.

“We encourage all cafes to register for this great initiative, and for our community members to dust off their reusable cups to support our beautiful natural environment.”

One of GROW Anglesea’s core values is sustainability, highlighted through its “slow shopping” focus that enables customers to learn where their food has come from, and where store items are created.

”We are also dedicated to reducing waste – from our composting commitment to our wholefoods section where people can bring in their own container, rather than plastic packaging, and only grab the amount they need,” Ms Flintoft said.

For more information on Responsible Cafes and registration details, visit surfcoast.vic.gov.au/responsiblecafes. The website also has a map of Responsible Cafes nationwide.

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