Tasmania backs the use of BYO Cups and Containers

One of the big concerns when COVID-19 restrictions were introduced was the likely increase in the amount of single-use packaging being used. Whilst not the only challenge, this included the fact that many cafes were refusing BYO coffee cups, thinking they were less safe than disposables.

Boomerang Alliance has been lobbying every Government, both State and Federal, to ensure that the accepted health advice that there is 'no evidence that coronavirus is spread through food or food packaging' was understood. We wanted a clear message given to both cafes and their customers that accepting BYO cups and containers, providing hygiene measures were in place, was safe.

The last thing we wanted was even more plastic litter and waste.

Whilst no State or Territory Government, with the exception of Queensland, has prohibited customers bringing their own cups to their local cafe to use for a takeaway coffee or other beverage, the Tasmanian Government has provided a clear, unequivocal position on this.

In a letter to Boomerang Alliance last week, and we thank the Minister for Health, Sarah Courtney for this, the Government states that 'reusable containers and beverage cups provided by customers have not been banned or prohibited.'

The letter goes on to say that public health advises that cups and containers should be checked to ensure they are clean and not likely to cause cross-contamination, in addition to the requirements for appropriate hygiene measures to be put in place (based on COVID-19 Safety Plans).

We appreciate the Tasmanian Government taking a sensible position on reusables, a position that prioritises health and safety whilst supporting community efforts to reduce disposable plastics. It makes it clear for all cafes that they can continue to allow BYO cups and container services to their regular customers who are doing the right thing.

Boomerang Alliance, and this is supported by the Restaurant & Catering Association, is promoting BYO cups and containers being used as long as they are clean (food outlets cannot wash them) and a 'contactless pour' procedure is followed. The contactless pour means that the only person who actually touches a BYO cup or container is the person who brings it into the cafe for takeaway purposes.

You can find out more about our advice on single use plastics and food ware at www.plasticfreeplaces.org