Join the Byron loves BYO campaign and ditch disposables

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Council’s Byron loves BYO campaign kicks off this Thursday [3 June] at the Byron Farmers Markets with giveaways of reusable items including Huskee Cup and Plastic Free Byron water bottles.

The campaign aims to address the growing problem of single-use takeaway items including more than 2.7 million single-use or disposable coffee cups going to landfill in Australia each day.

“We have an awesome business community with over 60 Byron Shire cafes and restaurants signed up to the Make the Switch Program to reduce single-use plastic, but we need to do more,” Council’s Resource Recovery Education and Projects Officer Sarah Child said.

“It’s not just plastic takeaway that is a problem, another major issue is that ‘compostable’ and biodegradable products are not necessarily compostable. There is no regulation around the labelling and many items are not certified to Australian standards,” Ms Child said.

“We do not accept any coffee cups or bioplastic smoothie cups and containers in the organics green bin – so you think you’re doing the right thing getting your coffee each day in a compostable cup and putting it in the green bin, but actually you could be contaminating the recycling or organics stream.

“The easiest way to avoid confusion, contamination and reduce waste is to re-use and BYO,” Ms Child said.

Byron loves BYO will make using reusables more convenient and easier for both businesses and customers, while encouraging BYO as an acceptable and easy way to reduce waste.

The campaign will achieve this by introducing more swap-and-go programs across the Byron Shire.

“Swap-and-go programs enable businesses to resolve the health concerns that arose during the Covid-19 pandemic and unfortunately resulted in many cafes returning to single use and disposable plastic cups. Swap-and-go allows people to either purchase or borrow and swap for free. There are plenty of businesses taking up swap and go across the Byron Shire, as well as in Tweed and Ballina Shires, and in other places across Australia, ” she said.

“Getting businesses on board is the first step, but now we need help from the community to vote with their feet and demand reusable solutions and support for BYO from all local businesses to ensure single use disposable cups and even containers are a thing of the past.”

Ms Child said that while Byron Shire is on its way to having the largest and most impressive take-up of ‘swap and go’ reusable cup programs across the Northern Rivers, the ultimate aim is to normalise a reuse and BYO culture where people are bringing their own cups, containers and cutlery and ditching disposables.

How does it work?

The swap and go systems are based on a simple system of reuse whereby the coffee drinker buys or borrows a cup from a swap and go program. When you order your coffee and present your cup, the café puts it aside to go through a commercial washing process at a time convenient to the business. The customer’s coffee is then made in a freshly washed and sanitised cup that is ready to go.