Aussies challenged to ditch single-use plastic cups

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva


The Plastic Free Foundation and WWF are challenging Aussies to ditch single-use plastic cups, launching a ‘Choose to Up’ cup coffee cup challenge.

When visiting their favourite coffee shop, customers will have the option to choose between: Bring, Borrow, or Stay. 

  • Bring reusable cups and keep them close, like in a car, bag, or desk where it is handy.
  • Borrow or participate in cup exchange programs from “mug libraries” where customers can borrow and return a cup after use. 
  • When dining in, customers can choose Stay and enjoy their coffee in the cafe’s washable ceramic cups.

According to the organisations, the challenge aims to help people, businesses, and cafes avoid billions of single-use coffee cups in landfills and litter annually. 

A recent report from the Australian government has shown that takeaway coffee cups lined with plastics, and their lids, are now one of the most used single-use plastic items in the country, with as many as 184 billion cups used each year.

“By switching from the disposable cup we use for a couple of minutes to instead bringing our cup for takeaways or choosing to dine-in, the Aussie coffee lover can avoid 500 single-use cups a year,” said Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, founder and executive director of Plastic Free July.

According to the organisations, paper-based disposable coffee cups are not as eco-friendly as consumers might think. They are still made with virgin paper and are not widely accepted for recycling due to their thin plastic lining, which keeps them watertight. 

Thankfully, they added, there’s growing advocacy to shift from conventional plastic and “paper cups” for coffee cups to compostable cups and lids. Retailers nationwide are slowly transitioning to compostable cups, driven by sustainability concerns. 

“Most single-use coffee cups end up as landfills or litter on our beautiful beaches and oceans. Once in the environment, they break up into microplastics, which cause lasting harm to wildlife and marine ecosystems,” said Kate Noble, No Plastics in Nature policy manager at WWF Australia. 

The Choose to Up Cup coffee cup challenge will run from today (July 25) until the 31st.

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.