COVID-19 has prompted many cafe owners to ban reusable cups, but Responsible Cafes is encouraging operators to consider an alternate method.

‘Contactless coffee’ sees customers place their clean reusable cups on a tray or on the counter while the barista makes the coffee in a regular drink-in cup.

The barista can then transfer the coffee from the ceramic cup into the reusable cup without contact, and slide the tray back to the customer.

Prior to COVID-19, the use of reusable cups was at an all time high, with some cafes even banning single-use cups completely.

Ruby Lane in Manly initially switched to disposable cups before introducing the contactless method in recent weeks.

“In just three weeks the response has been amazing,” says owner Phil Dawson. “I think we’re filling even more reusable cups than before the COVID-19 crisis, probably because we’re getting new customers who might be turned away from their regular cafes with reusables.”

At the end of the day, the choice is up to the venue, but if reintroducing reusable cups is off the cards for now, there are other options to minimise single-use materials.

“If your cafe still isn’t comfortable to serve in a reusable cup, go without a lid on your disposable if you can,” says Jo Horsley, general manager of Responsible Cafes.

“This small action taken by many can really add up and go a ways to reducing our single-use plastic use.”





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