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Councillor calls for "green" coffee cup incentive scheme

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Businesses would be given incentives to use biodegradable coffee cups under a proposal to be debated by the Adelaide City Council tomorrow.

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Area Councillor Sandy Verschoor is proposing a pilot project offering businesses financial or other inducements to stock compostable and reusable takeaway coffee and food containers. If successful, she hopes the project could be expanded to cover the entire city.

Verschoor, who replaced now-Greens Senator Robert Simms as an area councillor late last year, told InDaily many city cafés stocked oil-based plastic-lined takeaway coffee cups that take hundreds of years to break down.

“The café culture in Adelaide is really significant,” Verschoor said.

“The majority of cafes would be using the plastic lined [cups].

However: “the best way to get a sustainable practise out there is [through] everyday use.”

She said possible incentives included a council-sponsored bulk-buy scheme so businesses could purchase compostable cups cheaper, a social media campaign, an online map promoting businesses using compostable containers, direct financial incentives and the installation of more recycling bins around the city.

Verschoor will move a motion at tomorrow night’s city council meeting asking for a report on the viability of such a pilot project and detailing opportunities for a city-wide business incentive scheme supporting compostable and reusable containers.

Troppo Café in Whitmore Square has been using eco-friendly coffee cups and takeaway containers since it opened its doors four years ago.

Manager Maddie Harris said her and her family made a decision at the opening of the café to emphasise environmental sustainability in all parts of the business.

“Our mission is to be a sustainable café – it’s part of our overall ethos,” she said.

“We feel like a café is a great platform to demonstrate some ways that people can be a little bit more environmentally-minded.

Harris said it was important that businesses took responsibility for their environmental footprint.

“There are cheaper options [than biodegradable coffee cups]” she said.

“[However] I don’t see a reason why all businesses should not use eco-friendly takeaway practises.

“It really should be used by everyone in the industry.”

She said Troppo Café also uses takeaway food containers made from cane sugar fibre.

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