This one word sums up a global culture: a daily routine that has come from a delicate craft of growing to pouring.
Coffee culture unites us. At a local level, we socialise over it, eat breakfast with it, enjoy cafés with it and even take it with us on our daily commute – connecting with people at each touchpoint. At a global level, coffee unites growers, distributors, roasters, baristas and drinkers from all around the world – creating the nearly hundred-billion-dollar industry.
Ecoware supplies thousands of businesses like coffee roasters, restaurants, stadiums, Councils and events with takeaway coffee cups and lids certified for commercial composting. We’re proud to be a part of the liquid gold we routinely sip on-the-go.
Unfortunately, takeaway coffee became associated with landfill waste, and is today, the poster child for the anti-plastic movement. In New Zealand, 295 million hot and cold cups (including coffee cups) are used every year. As coffee lovers, Ecoware founders James and Alex were well aware of the waste single-use cups generated. Traditional coffee cups are lined with oil-based plastic, and the only option for disposal here is landfill. They knew there must be a better way.
So, in 2011 they launched Ecoware – packaging made from plants, in a crusade against such plastic. They started with coffee cups and produced them with a plant-based PLA bioplastic lining: the whole cup certified for commercial composting. It took three years to break into the industry. Packaging made from plants seemed too good to be true, but today, the majority of New Zealand’s coffee roasters partner with Ecoware and choose better, more sustainable packaging.
Since conception, we have grown from coffee cups and lids and now supply a full range of compostable packaging, from bamboo bowls and plates, clear cups and containers, paper bowls and straws, wooden cutlery and more. In 2018 alone, we replaced 750,000kgs of traditional plastic packaging made from a non-renewable resource, to packaging made from plants.
We were once asked, “How is Ecoware changing the way we drink coffee?” The simple answer is: we’re not.
We’re challenging the status quo, but being realistic. People lead busy lives, and we want people to continue to enjoy their coffee on-the-go. Our goal was to make the routine of a takeaway coffee better, with reduced environmental impact. What we do want to change is the way people dispose of their coffee cup, and this is an on-going journey. The end goal is to divert single-use packaging from landfill and into a compost facility where organic nutrients are recycled, again and again. Composting is the most sustainable way to deal with organic waste, and this means viewing your used coffee cup as a “resource” rather than “waste”.
We’re sponsors of the NZ Coffee Festival for the third year in a row, celebrating our love for coffee and the role it plays in our lives. We sponsor the festival in support of all the coffee roasters and cafes choosing to improve their environmental impact with more sustainable Ecoware packaging. It’s also an opportunity to educate and show coffee lovers the connection between their takeaway coffee, packaging made from plants, and commercial composting. With a collective effort, leveraging the coffee culture that unites us, we can achieve a circular economy.
We believe that one day, the word coffee will be synonymous with a circular economy.
Written By: Kristy Wilson – Ecoware Marketing Manager