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Helping cafes form the habit of reusable cups

Single-use is so 2020!

They say it takes takes 21 days to form a new habit… and what better habit can we get into than ditching the single-use and using reusables!

This inspired us to trial a new campaign with Plastic Free Cairns Champion @blackbirdwarehouse. From the 8 - 28 January (that’s 21 days in case you’re wondering) we worked with Blackbird to supercharge and normalise the number of customers using reusables, culminating in #UseYourOwnCupDay on Thursday 28 Jan. 🙌


Each week, Blackbird 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 #UseYourOwnCupDay, we worked with them towards achieving the highest number reusable cups possible.


As part of the campaign, we worked with Blackbird Warehouse to encourage and support their customers to increase reusables by:

  • displaying “Reusables Preferred Here” posters so that customers felt comfortable to BYO.

  • implementing reusable coffee cup swap systemGreen Caffeen, which allows customers to borrow reusable cups and is free to café owners and customers.

  • offering free coffees for customers who brought their own reusable cup (shouted by community group ‘Use your Own Cup NZ’) or borrowed a free Green Caffeine cup (shouted by Green Caffeen).

  • stamping their single-use cups with a reminder for their customers to BYO next time.

  • encouraging customers to take selfies with their reusables with hashtags #byoselfie and #byomugshot.

  • inviting local social media influencers to take selfies with their BYO cups.

  • encouraging customers to take ‘me-time’ and dine-in if they forgot their own cup.


1. In week one, 55% of cups used 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 Green Caffeen reusable cup or dined-in.


Blackbird founder Troy Furner, said “Participating in the event prompted us to have a look at our ordering history. We waste 189,000 pieces of single-use takeaway coffee cups and lids a year, and could save up to $13,000 yearly across both of our stores if we promoted a greater focus on reusables.”

“The fact that we were able to achieve 73% reusables on ‘Use Your Own Cup Day’ at the end of 3 weeks of actively encouraging our customers shows us that anything is possible, and there are some real savings to be made, not only for the business but for the environment” said Troy.

Moving forward from the initiative, Blackbird have adjusted the printing on every single takeaway coffee cup to include the words “Please remember to BYO reusable cup next time” to encourage their customers to keep the habit.



Across Australia, 2.7 million single-use throwaway cups are discarded every day. They cannot be recycled in kerbside collections due to their plastic lining. They contaminate the recycling stream, end up in landfill, or worse, in our environment.

Our throwaway culture devalues all of us... everything and everyone 😢. We want to build a reuse culture and show that reuse is possible and more beneficial than single-use to businesses and our communities.

The concept of a ‘Use Your Own Cup Day’ was inspired by UYO.NZ which started in New Zealand in 2018 and we’re excited to bring it to Australia. We ran this campaign in each of our Plastic Free Places communities (Adelaide, Perth, Cairns, Townsville and Byron Bay).


We’ve been so blown away by the feedback and are now developing a toolkit so other cafes can follow suit, increase their use of reusables, reduce their costs and the impacts their business and customers have on our environment.

We each have the opportunity to make positive changes this year, we just have to make a start. ⁣We believe BYO reusables shouldn't just be one day of the year, it needs to be every day.. we just need to create the habit!

P.S. Reusable cups are currently allowed under Qld Covid restrictions in a contactless pour.

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