About Us

Our Story

Responsible Cafes was founded in 2013, as an initiative of the award-winning not-for-profit Responsible Runners. Collecting litter on our beaches each week, our group of volunteers wanted to tackle the issue of ocean pollution from its source and help reduce plastic waste from our oceans and neighbourhoods. One of the bright sparks in the group thought it would be a great idea to offer people a discount if they used their own cup… then another thought of placing them on a map… and Responsible Cafes was born! 

The program grew organically at first through word of mouth, until the ABC War On Waste was broadcasted in 2017 and featured the initiative. Overnight the website went bonkers and we received 1000’s of emails and messages of support from CEO’s to grandparents and schools kids wanting to know more about how they can minimise their impact.

We are now one of Australia’s most innovative, popular, & fastest-growing programs actively engaging cafes, councils and the community to improve sustainability. In 2018 we were recognised for our achievements and nominated for a NSW Green Globe 

We have now grown to 5000 cafes and continue to look at ways we can continue to keep the conversation active and drive more impact in the hospitality industry.  

The Problem

Due to the nasty plastic lining hiding in takeaway cups, it is very challenging for waste management streams to recycle cups. Unlike a Tetra-Pac for example, in order to hold a hot drink for a period of time, the plastic is too thick to be sent to paper recycling streams. The current streams of kerbside and public waste management cannot effectively separate the two materials so the cups get sent to landfill. Customers dispose of their ‘paper cup’ in their paper recycling with best intentions but this in fact contaminates the collection which can result in the whole bin getting sent to landfill.

How we work

Behind the scenes we have a mixture of volunteers and professionals across the country working on the program to help increase the reach, educate the community and grow the network.

We strongly believe in the power of collaboration and engage with as many strategic partners to spread the message and grow impact. We have a committee that reguarly meets and ambassadors that we engage with to help drive the message through their networks. 

Waste education is at the heart of everything we do and we are constantly striving to connect with children, adults and businesses on how to reduce their waste. Feel free to get in touch if you have an idea, concept that would you like us to help spread! 


Jo Horsley

Jo Horsley

Calls the shots // General Manager and Partnerships

Partnerships whizz, best friend to our councils, genius with community engagement, steering the Responsible Cafes ship across calm and choppy waters! Mother of a crazy four year old, artist, music maker and lover of the ocean.

Rachel Draper

Rachel Draper

Takes your coffee order // Operations Manager

Looking after all of our cafes, campaign management, keeping eyes peeled for new collaboration opportunities and all day-to-day queries. Rescue dog mamma and lover, founder of the Relove Movement, spreadsheet whizz and general waste warrioress.

Cath Leach

Cath Leach

Creates the heart shape on your coffee // Designer and Creative Strategist

The master behind all Responsible Cafe designs and branding, creating positive changes through friendships and collaborations with other legendary initiatives. Master behind the reuse of a glass jar.

Laura Castellani

Laura Castellani

Froths at digital // Social Media Manger

Laura is our wonderful social media who can take an idea and run with it!  She has digital transformation experience and will helping to grow our network of cafes and keen beans. She is passionate about saving waste and eating healthy. 

Good For the Hood

Good For the Hood

Waste education dudettes

We work with the great team from Good for the Hood to help engage councils and corporates with waste education messaging and partnership. They bring amazing energy and passion to the group. 


Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson

Former journalist and TV presenter, author and activist.

Sarah was editor of Cosmopolitan Australia, host of Masterchef Australia and founder of the largest wellness website in Australia, IQuitSugar.com. In May 2018, Sarah closed the business and gave all money to charity. She now builds and enables charity projects that “engage humans with each other” and campaigns on mental health and climate issues. Sarah ranks as one of the top 200 most influential authors in the world and has a combined digital audience of 2.5 million.

Andy Marks

Andy Marks

Andy Marks is an agent for postive change.

He leads and advises purpose driven organisations on sustainability and climate change, has an arts practice deconstructing and reconstructing our relationship to consumer culture and is the founder of UK social enterprise SleepingBags – transforming discarded bed linen in to products for the world’s leading hotels. He established the impact production model for the ABC with War on Waste and is proud to be a Responsible Cafes ambassador. 

His is a short black with half a sugar when you’re ready.

Laura Wells

Laura Wells

Laura Wells is an Environmentalist, presenter and one of Australia's top curvy models

With degrees in both Biology and Law, qualifications in Environmental management systems and studying a Diploma of Paramedical Science; Laura’s passion for the environment, love for the ocean and interest in facilitating climate change action, has led her to become a positive role model, advocate and ambassador for change. Laura believes in the importance of educating people not only on the issues, but focusing on solutions, to empower individuals to create change.

Harriet Spark

Harriet Spark

Activist, videographer and designer with a passion for conservation

Harriet is an experienced diver and ocean photographer and videographer. Together she has brought to life incredible communication and marketing campaigns to drive awareness of ocean conservation. Most recently she started Operations Straw – a program that brings volunteer divers together to gather 1000’s of disgaurded straws on the sea floor. She is one of our favourite Keen Beans! 

Responsible Cafes would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of the land on which we gather and work.


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Help stop the spread, Australia!!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ A bit of cheeky covid humour for you beans since it's Friday. Try out "Responsible Influencing" next time you're grabbing coffee with a mate and ask them to go topless and #DitchTheLid with you! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ . ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #ditchthelid #reusable #keepitclean #environment #australia #covid19 #noexcuseforsingleuse #responsiblecafes #waronwaste #corona #contactlesspour #coffee #contactlesscoffee #earth #byoCup #noexcuseforsingleuse
Plastic Free July Tip # 2: Swap it like it's hot.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Cup swap systems like @huskeecup are making it easy for customers to participate in the reusable movement without having to carry around an emergency mug in their bag. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Here's how to do it...Your cafe buys a stock of the swap program's cups, customer purchases a cup to become a member, customer returns used cup to you and orders a drink, you pour delicious coffee into a fresh cup for the customer 👍⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Our discount with Huskee Swap for 50% off their lovely cups is still running, so use code 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗖𝗮𝗳𝗲𝘀𝟱𝟬 at checkout! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ . ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #muglibrary #reusable #keepitclean #environment #covid19 #noexcuseforsingleuse #responsiblecafes #waronwaste #corona #contactlesspour #coffee #contactlesscoffee #eco #huskeecup #byoCup #noexcuseforsingleuse
Thanks to you amazing Keen Beans across the world Thanks to you amazing Keen Beans across the world who all agree it is time to #revivereuse. It warms our cotton socks to know you all care enough to sign! If you missed it from last week here is the lowdown. 💚⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We need your help to #revivereuse ♻️⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Are reusable coffee cups safe in the times of COVID? YES. In fact, they're SO safe that 125 scientists across the globe have signed a statement which reads: "It is clear that reusable systems can be used safely by employing basic hygiene." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Want to see reusable coffee cups back in action? Here's how you can help:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1. Let's work together this @plasticfreejuly to ask the large coffee chains to reconsider their position and bring back our beloved reusables in the hope that others will follow. You can help by signing our @change.org petition to show that the public are keen to reuse their clean cups. Link to petition in bio. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2. Tag your favourite waste warrior in the comments below and ask them to sign the petition too! Include #revivereuse⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3. Read more about this issue and the full statement from scientists in our recent blog. Link in Bio. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Here is the quick down-low from those in the know: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ *Rona is transmitted mainly by droplets in the air, NOT by surfaces. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ *Disposables present the same surface transmission risks as reusables. In other words, they are not magically free from germs. (shocking, we know)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ * Reusables can be WASHED (bacteria-fighting soap is a wonderful thing, folks - let's use it).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Stay tuned for more info on the safety of reusables! ☕️⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #responsiblecafes #reusable #keepitclean #environment #australia #covid19 #noexcuseforsingleuse #responsiblecafes #waronwaste #corona #contactlesspour #coffee #latte #contactlesscoffee #eco #earth #byoCup #noexcuseforsingleuse @plasticfreejuly
Thanks to all the keen beans who have been giving Thanks to all the keen beans who have been giving us tips over the last few months on where folks can get a contactless coffee in their reusable mugs. We especially liked this lovely message and wanted to share it with you to kick start the week. Remember to sign our petition to #revivreuse. We are nearly at 500 signatures! 💕 Link in bio. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ x RC Team
Contamination Station: when the poor yellow bin is Contamination Station: when the poor yellow bin is contaminated by things that definitely don't belong in it, resulting in the WHOLE lot getting sent to landfill. A real tradgedy.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Here are the top 10 culprits of recycling contamination (other than the dreaded disposable cups): ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1) Greasy pizza boxes ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2) Nappies ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3) Soft plastics (wrappers, produce packaging, etc.) ⠀ 4) E-waste ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 5) Used tissues and paper towels ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 6) Food waste (hello compost!) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 7) Garden waste (another win for the. compost)⠀⠀⠀⠀ 8) Unwanted dishes and appliances ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 9) Clothes and textile ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 10) Plastic bags (let your recyclables roam freely in the bin)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What are some other common contaminants you see in your neighbourhood recycling bins?? Let us know in the comments! .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ . ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #muglibrary #reusable #keepitclean #environment #australia #covid19 #noexcuseforsingleuse #responsiblecafes #waronwaste #corona #contactlesspour #coffee #recycling #contactlesscoffee #eco #earth #byoCup #noexcuseforsingleuse
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