Brisbane Uni first to tackle coffee cup wastage


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One of the many collection tubes around campus. Photo: Marnie Cruickshank

Griffith University’s Centre for Sustainable Enterprise is taking action to fight local pollution and climate change.

Griffith is the first university in Australia to partner on the Simply Cups project, which aims to tackle the issue of non-recyclable coffee cups.

Griffith Business School Sustainability Officer Ms Vanessa Taveras Dalmau, and Project Officer, Rachel Perkins, have organised a partnership with organisation Closed Loop, who engineer environmental solutions to reduce landfill.

“There have been some pilots done in Melbourne CBD, Sydney CBD and Brisbane, but we are… the first university to take the lead on a coffee-cup, wastage-type initiative, which is really exciting,” Ms Perkins said.

“The whole purpose of the project is to show people how many coffee cups that we are using… Statistics from the university show that we actually sell 600 takeaway coffees a day.”

Collection tubes have been placed in 10 different locations around Griffith University’s Nathan campus during  August.  As feature for sustainability week (28th August – 1st September), all collected cups were displayed in an installation in the campus heart.

“So it’s raising awareness but also offering a solution to people to have the control and ability to actually be a part of making a difference,”  Ms Taveras Dalmau said.

The problem isn’t  just one that affects university campuses. An estimated 1 billion coffee cups end up in Australia’s landfill each year.

Due to the waxy, liquid-proof residue lining the product the cups are unable to be broken down in the recycling process used for other paper and cardboard derivatives.

“After the project is done, we are hoping to continue to partner with Simply Cups… Once they gather enough – 1 million per year – they are able to justify the economics of a recycling facility,” Ms Perkins said.

“So if we can help out with that we’ll definitely continue with the initiative.”


Coffee Cup collection points to be found on Griffith’s Nathan Campus           Photo: Griffith University


Marnie Cruickshank

A Griffith University student graduating from a Bachelor of Communications, with a major in PR and minor in journalism, in February 2018.

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