Plastic Free Places – Our 2021 Focus on Reusables

Unfortunately, reusables took a nosedive in 2020.  This was largely due to a myth that BYO cups and containers spread coronavirus - there is no evidence for this. In 2021, we want to show that reuse is possible and more cost-beneficial than single-use to businesses and our communities.

In January we worked with nine amazing cafes in Cairns, Townsville, Byron and Perth to supercharge and normalise the number of customers using reusables, culminating in #UseYourOwnCupDay on Friday 29 Jan.

Each week, these cafe's tallied how many of their customers used reusable cups, with the goal to see the percentage of reusables increase each week as their awesome customers started to form the new habit of reuse.

On ‘Use Your Own Cup Day’ we worked with them towards achieving the highest number reusable cups possible, which for some meant no takeaway coffees in single-use cups.


There was a marked increase in the use of reusables for ALL cafes involved.


Plastic Free Cairns with @blackbirdwarehouse

The % of customers who had their drink in a reusable cup (includes dine-in figures):

  1. In week one, 55% of cups used at Blackbird were reusables.
  2. In week two, 56% were reusables.
  3. In week three, 63% were reusables.

On ‘Use your own cup day’, 73% of customers used their own cup, borrowed a reusable cup or dined in.


Plastic Free Townsville

Increase in the number of reusable cups used, by comparing the last week of the campaign to the first:


WA Plastic Free with @sondercoffeeperth

The % of customers who brought their own cup (excludes dine-in figures):

1. In week one, 17.5% of customers.
2. In week two, 20.3% of customers.
3. In week three, 2% of customers.

On ‘Use your own cup day’, 100% of customers used their own cup or dined in.


Plastic Free Byron with @buncoffee

Whilst data was not gathered, Bun reported that a number of regular customers have made the switch across to reusables cups, eliminating their daily single-use habit. Not only this, but the number of customers bringing along their own jars when purchasing Bun’s on-site roasted coffee beans increased. Follow up from the campaign suggested very positive results amongst the community, with many more daily regulars converting from single-use to reusables as a consequence of the increased attention to this issue.


We’ve been so blown away by the feedback, we’ll also be soon be offering the program to all of our PFP member cafes and are also developing a toolkit so cafes across Australia can follow suit. This will be available soon on our website


Back to March 2021 Newsletter page >>