Cafe ups the ante on reducing waste

Reflections Cafe at Lake Leschenaultia has found new ways to reduce waste

IT has been almost a year since Lake Leschenaultia's Reflections Cafe joined The Last Straw project and its success has inspired the team to explore other ways to reduce waste.

Cafe co-ordinator Leonie Ettridge said since committing to help end the use of disposable plastic straws – by offering patrons a paper straw or no straw at all – in November 2018, the overall response from customers had been positive.

"We no longer have straws out on the front counter and estimate that we have halved the number of straws we give out," she said.

"We've also taken quite a few extra steps to reduce waste beyond plastic straws."

These include providing reusable metal straws for sale and using minimal amounts of cling wrap, zip lock bags and other single use plastics in the kitchen and Cafe.

"By choosing reusable containers for fridge/freezer storage, where possible, it has meant that we use almost zero cling wrap and zip lock bags now," Ms Ettridge added.

Staff have also been collecting soft plastic waste to go to RedCycle drop off points; introduced compostable packaging for takeaway food and drinks (including coffee/cold drink cups and lids, chip boxes, napkins, straws and more) and provided a bin exclusively for the collection of the Cafe's compostable packaging.

Ms Ettridge said the contents of this bin were passed on to a local not for profit organisation to be turned into compost.

Kitchen food scraps and coffee grounds are not forgotten either. They are collected and sorted every day the Café is open and periodically delivered to the not for profit.

Ms Ettridge added that she and the staff had enjoyed taking on the challenge of minimising the amount of waste the business produced.

"More than half of the Cafe's waste is now being composted rather than finding its way to landfill," she added.

"We have found it to be very rewarding, both from customer feedback when they are informed about our special packaging, and even just knowing that we are doing our bit!  

"We will continue to introduce more compostable packaging as what remains of our old packaging runs out, and aim for our Cafe to eventually have 100% compostable packaging."

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