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The Cup Project – Grey Lynn Tackling Single-use Cups

Disposable cups are a major issue for our environment with New Zealanders throwing away 295 million single-use cups per year.

Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away, a local sustainability initiative is leading the way in tacking waste going to landfill. They have partnered with more than 25 organisations, businesses and schools with the goal to further reduce the use of single-use cups in their community over an 8-week trial period, which is partially funded by the Waitematā Local Board. The Cup Project will be launched on 1 July 2020, coinciding with the first day of world Plastic Free July.

Used glass jars have been collected, and together with local schools, students, parents and volunteers, heat-bands/ cup-cozies have been sewn to go around them as a heat protector. These upcycled unique, individual #KohaCups will be offered as takeaway cup alternatives in five Grey Lynn cafes from 1 July. The idea is to return the cleaned jar which will be commercially washed by the café, and people keep their very own, handmade heat-band and reuse it again!

Project lead Brigitte Sistig hopes that “people will honor how much aroha and mahi has gone into making each of these beautiful Koha Cup holders/ cozies. Just think that a little kid or a high school student or a member of our community has kindly given their time for the café customer to enjoy their hot drink and help them avoid yet another single-use cup going to landfill.”

The project was originally scheduled for March, however, due to COVID-19 the launch was postponed. With the crisis now being controlled, Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away is thrilled to report that the interest and involvement from the community to get the project back up and running has been outstanding. “Lockdown didn’t stop enthusiasm for the #KohaCup project. Many of our locals have crafted more cup heat-bands as part of their creative pastime, and once back at school, students have also joined in,” says Brigitte.

The group is also encouraged by the cafes’ commitment to waste minimisation, with even one more café joining the cause. Participating Grey Lynn cafés include Grey Lynn based Bread & Butter Bakery and Café, Crumb, Tart Bakery, Urban Jungle Café, and The Coffee Store at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market.

This initiative offers many opportunities for the community to get involved. One of them is the jar collection based at Richmond Road Countdown (in the designated trolley/ box), the Grey Lynn Library and at reuse station at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market.

So far, Grey Lynn School, The French department of Richmond Road School, Westmere School and Western Springs College are participating and making different designs for the Koha Cup heatbands/ cup cozies. Some students have been leading the Cup Project at their school, used it for their environmental studies, written stories, are assisting with the data analysis of the take-away cup usage over the study period, or are talking to café customers to learn about their experience of Koha Cups.

New skill development and learning a craft is another aspect. Brigitte noted that “there is already a great interest in the community, especially from younger people in learning how to make these cup cozies. So, we will be holding free workshops where people can get together making gorgeous #KohaCup heat protectors.”

After the eight-week feasibility study a report will be presented to participating organizations, businesses and the community to share the trial’s outcomes and to find out where the community would like to take their efforts in eliminating single-use cups.

#KohaCup #SayNoToSingleUse #Takeawaythrowaways #plasticfreejuly #community #sustainability

Launch Details

Western Springs College students who created many of the #KohaCups will be delivering them to participating cafés on a bicycle tour on 1st July. They will be joined by Grey Lynn School year 5 children, who are also making heatbands/ cup holders for the #KohaCups at Urban Jungle Café for the finale.

SCHEDULE of the #KohaCup bicycle tour on the launch date, 1st July

09:00 am Leaving Western Springs School

09:30 am Bread & Butter Bakery and Cafe - 34 Westmoreland Street

10:00 am Crumb - 37 Ariki Street

10:15 am Tart Bakery - 555 Great North Road

10:30 am Urban Jungle Cafe - 575 Great North Road


Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away are a group of committed volunteers that take action to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill from our community. On most Sunday mornings you will find them at the local Grey Lynn Farmers Market. They are there to help people to find ways of limiting their waste going to landfill. Every Plastic FREE July they help their community reducing the use of plastic.

Grey Lynn 2030 is part of the international, grassroots Transition Towns movement. The goal of Transition Towns is to bring people together to explore how we – as communities – can respond to the challenges and opportunities of climate change and peak oil. Transition Towns works on the belief that communities have within themselves the innovation and ingenuity to create positive solutions to the converging crises of our time.

Our Vision
Grey Lynn 2030 is a local response to the ideas of the Transition Movement. Grey Lynn 2030 is a participatory community organisation promoting and engaging in building neighbourhood spirit and cooperation while working towards a vision a self–reliant, positive, resilient, vibrant, connected and sustainable community.

Publication: A Decade of Positive Vision and Practical Action – Grey Lynn 2030 (2018)

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