Plastic Free July: Saving Whaingaroa’s landfill one coffee cup at a time

Forgotten your keep cup, again? No need to feel guilty anymore, Plastic Free Raglan have taken care of that for you with Ugli Mug-Libraries popping up at your favourite cafes in Raglan.

The libraries are filled with unwanted mugs that can be used by coffee lovers as an alternative to single-use compostable cups for their takeaway coffees.

Plastic Free Raglan lead Amanda Moxey is keen to get every Raglan café on board and make Whaingaroa single-use compostable cup free, on top of their goal towards being single-use plastic free.

Raglan’s Ugli Mug-Libraries are a simple reusable loan system. Mugs can be supplied by Xtreme’s Kaahu’s Nest and by the community, and every partnering café will have mugs at their counter.

“If you borrow one to avoid a single-use cup, just make sure you bring one mug back to any partnering café. This creates a waste-free circular economy of reusable mugs in Whaingaroa,” Amanda says.

So far, Indi’s, Isobar and The Shack have put their hands up for the single-use coffee cup alternative

Indi’s owner Miles Ratima’s had already decided to get rid of compostable coffee cups at the beginning of the year and says the mug library provides additional cups for their customers to use.

“A lot of people don’t put the (compostable) cups in the right place and they end up blowing off the table and into the surf. Even though we had the most expensive cups you could buy we were still promoting single use. For someone to have a cup for 30 seconds, a minute and then throw it away. We just thought no, no more, we can’t do that to our environment,” Miles says.

Each year an estimated 295 million cups go to landfill and only one in 400 “compostable” cups are estimated to reach an appropriate compost facility.

New Zealand has already officially said no to single-use plastic bags and Amanda reckons Raglan locals and visitors are ready to say ‘no more single-use takeaway packaging’ and make steps toward a reusable Raglan.

“What’s the best way to avoid single-use coffee cups? Stop and drink-in. Otherwise a keep-cup keeps us moving. Ugli Mug-Libraries are another way to avoid single-use while we shift toward habit change and another support will be announced after August consultation with local cafés,” Amanda says.

Amanda is encouraging people to drop off their unwanted, Ugli Mugs to keep the supply of cups going in the libraries to any café with an Ugli Mug-Library, Whāingaroa Environment Centre or Xtreme Kaahu’s Nest.

Janine Jackson