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.
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!
MEET OUR TEAM
Head Barista // General Manager and Impact Entrepreneur
Passionate about composting and coloured bins/beans, Marion is the new captain of the Responsible Cafes ship in a post-covid world! She works hand in hand with councils, community groups and waste warriors to positively influence behaviour change and the future of packaging!
Posts coffee pictures on IG // Social Media and Digital Marketing
Content creator and social media maestro, keeping our Cafes and fellow waste warriors connected and updated across all of the Responsible Cafe socials. Passionate about inspiring positive change, sustainability, and performing, Amy can usually be found filming and editing videos with her fur baby, Banks!
Takes your order // VIC Coordinator and Partnerships
Partnership kickstarter and alliance builder. Eyes always peeled for innovative ideas and opportunities to collaborate and fight the war on waste. Part-time mountain explorer, Potterhead (and proud-to-be), and adoptive mother of 1000 compost worms.
On the grind // Marketing Coordinator
Stepping into the not-for-profit scene taking on all things marketing. Advocating for the war on waste through engagement and collaboration, copywriting and coffee puns. A surviving university student, chronic coffee drinker and delighted to be a part of a female-led initiative!
Collects the coffee beans // WA Coordinator and Partnerships
Sharka aka the Shark is a Waste Warrior during the day and yoga ninja at night. Shark believes action trumps ideas and we all have a responsibility to reduce our environmental impact. On a mission to make a change in the WA community through partnerships and to help venues implement sustainable actions!
MEET SOME OF THE ORIGINAL ENViroISTAS
We are forever grateful to the help of the people who have given their time and energy to Responsible Cafes. Here are just a few that have shared their good vibes and coffee loving with us over the years!
Calls the shots // General Manager and Partnerships
Takes your coffee order // Operations Manager
Creates the heart shape on your coffee // Designer and Creative Strategist
Froths at digital // Social Media Manger
Good For the Hood
Waste education dudettes
OUR 2020-21 AMBASSADORS
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 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 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.
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!
Co-Founder Responsible Cafes, Responsible Runners
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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