Again Again launched on Tuesday in Wānaka and it has the potential to bring a significant shift in habits to the district.
Whilst Wānaka is quite advanced in its environmental engagement, there are still plenty of innocent moments when good intentions aren’t met with good organisation and you find yourself wanting a coffee but no cup in hand — it’s in the dishwasher, or rolling around the floor of your car filled with mould.
That’s where Again Again steps in.
“We provide a fleet of stainless steel cups with silicone lids so that if the customer forgets their own keep cup, they can pay a deposit of $3 and get one of ours. They can then return it to any participating cafe,” said Nada Piatek, founder and managing director of Again Again.
“We wanted something that everyone can use, that protects their convenience. Essentially what we do with the $3 deposit is give them a motivation to bring it back. If they don’t, we don’t police that but what we’ve found is that people want to be a part of this and the return rate is higher than we expected.”
The current return rate is 60 percent but Nada believes the 40 percent that haven’t been returned aren’t lost or stolen — they are just sitting on someone’s desk waiting to be returned. “The liability is on us if the customer doesn’t bring them back. The cafes are charged $3 for the cups which they on-charge to the customer so they don’t lose. That’s what makes it attractive for cafes because they don’t have to take responsibility for the cups or suffer financial loss if they aren’t returned,” she said.
“We manage the risk by launching regionally so we don’t launch in areas where there isn’t wide community support. We need to give the cups the best opportunity of being returned but we also need communities who are open to behaviour change as that’s the hardest part about this.”
Tourists can also participate as the cups can be returned at Christchurch Airport (negotiations with Queenstown Airport are underway).
New Zealand throws away 295,000,000 single use cups every year. These cups are used for five minutes and once disposed of, last a lifetime. The plastic lining inside the cardboard cups means they are not recyclable.
Participating cafes in Wānaka are: Federal Diner, Alchemy Cafe, Ritual Cafe, Big Fig, Relishes Cafe, Florences Foodstore & Cafe, Monkey Farm, Pembroke Patisserie, and Sailz Lake Hawea.