Located in Emu Park, the Ocean Brew Eatery is a local cafe with big a heart, great coffee and fabulous food. They've been inspired to reduce waste and plastics by their beautiful seaside location. We sat down with owner Abby to discuss what belonging to Plastic Free CQ means for her.
When did you first learn about the damage plastics do to our environment?
When I was a child about 12 years old I wondered about ground-water. A visit to landfill started me to question why plastic was breaking apart in the ground, the earth and how this can’t be a good thing.
What prompted you to become a Plastic Free CQ member?
Jo (CQ Coordinator) did. She contacted us to engage and although we had started our journey Jo helped to guide us through the green washing and find suitable replacements where needed or eliminating items by repacking in a minimal way, instead of over-packaging.
What has been the easiest change for you to make?
Water bottles and plastic bags. We just stopped buying them in and tell our customers they are no longer available. We also mention we are part of this program and it's a requirement, we are happy to refill. We supply bottles of cold water in our fridges with cold glasses as our water option. We also have a water refill station.
What has been the most challenging change to make?
Coffee cup lids. Due to pricing, there is a gap between PLA and plastic and its just not a cost we can absorb at this time. We would like to see the plastic options banned and only PLA and bagasse as available options, then there is an even playing field for cafe owners.
Where do you see the industry headed when it comes to plastics & single-use waste?
Innovation! I see innovation coming for our waste. It would be good to see Government invest and support more innovation in the waste area. Also to see innovation in packaging by utilising what we have thats sustainable, and manufacturing that here at a local level, as a preferred option to importing single use plastics.
Do you have any comments or tips to encourage other businesses owners along the waste reduction journey?
You have to start caring soon. It makes sense to us as small business owners to be ahead of the curve in relation to single use plastic bans rather than trying to catch up once the bans are in place.
Ocean Brew Eatery has made some big changes since joining Plastic Free CQ including:
Joined the Green Caffeen reusable cup network
Eliminated plastic water bottles
Eliminated plastic sauce containers and lids
Eliminated plastic bags
Eliminated take-away containers
They're also participating in our Reusable Champion Cafe program this month, helping to build a community of reuse habits and hosting a special BYO cup day on 29th July 2022, aiming for 100% reusables on the day.