In May 2017, coffee roasters Single O set themselves a challenge to cut their single-use cups by half in one year.

One year down, the business has confirmed they almost hit their goal, cutting down usage to 47 per cent, which is a significant effort considering they started at 6 per cent.

Single O spearheaded a variety of methods to help reach this goal including the introduction of a standing bar, loaning ceramic cups to customers and selling their own branded KeepCup while making a donation to Take 3 for the Sea for each takeaway cup saved.

Every venue can improve their sustainability initiatives – here are Single O’s tips.

1. Create the right environment

It’s all about helping customers break their habits and form new ones. Since installing a magazine rack on our short stay bar at Surry Hills, customers have turned up a little earlier to enjoy their brew over an article. The success at Carriageworks stems from a slower pace and contained area; it’s perfect for lingering over a brew. That and our awesome team of dishwashing demons, who’ve managed to charm almost every customer over to a ceramic cup!

2. Suggest a sustainable option

“Half of it is in the sell,” says barista Dan. “You’ve really got to offer the better option first. A simple, ‘Is a ceramic cup okay for this one?’ goes a long way. People are more likely to go with the first thing they’re offered.”

3. Make sure people are aware

Put it up on social, put it on a sign. Don’t be afraid to open up the discussion! “If someone new chooses one of the better options, I like to respond with, ‘Thanks for giving a shit! This one’s on us’ and have a chat about it,” says barista Oli. “I like to remind people that they can bring any mug from home. We don’t mind; we’ll pour your coffee into anything!” Well, almost anything.

4. Look for other methods

Metal straws, tap water, compost bins and The Juggler – if you haven’t yet made the switch. You can’t convince everyone to make a change but there are other ways in.

Image credit: Alana Dimou

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