You may not remember, but before the early 2000s, takeaway coffee hadn’t really taken off in Australia.
Two decades on and coffee drinkers go through around one billion disposable cups a year or around 2,700,000 cups a day, according to a study by the University of Melbourne.
Melbourne cafe owner Abigail Forsyth had watched first hand as the problem quickly escalated over the course of a decade, before finally deciding to do something about it.
In 2009, she and her brother Jaime designed and launched one of the world’s first reusable coffee cups – the KeepCup.
“Behind the machine we saw the rise and rise of take away coffee and that waste that went with that, and we thought there must be a better way to get coffee on the go,” she told Your Money Live.
Today more than eight million of the reusable cups have been sold across more than 65 countries, preventing an estimated 12 billion disposable cups from going into landfill.
While public awareness against disposal products and waste has been growing in recent years, Forsyth said 10 years ago, people really weren’t thinking much about it.
“Even we knew it was a problem [then] but we probably underestimated the scale of the problem when we took the product global and saw what was happening around the world,” said Forsyth.
“But there’s been a lot of moments over the last two years that have woken people up to what’s happening.”
Forsyth said some of the groundbreaking moments for the war on waste were the documentaries Blue Planet II by David Attenborough.
And the war against the disposable coffee cup also continues to grow. Last year, the UK government proposed the ‘latte levy’ to be imposed on disposable cups in a bid to cut down on excess waste.
Watch the full interview in the video above.