Wow! Our list of ‘Cafes That Are Killing It’ is certainly growing. We are so humbled to connect and work with such incredible businesses. Cat & Cow Coffee in Randwick, Sydney is a gold-bean cafe according to the Responsible Cafes rating system – an incredible achievement!

Cat & Cow Coffee is a cafe selling specialty coffee, fantastic local food and baked goods. But not only this, Cat & Cow is a zero-waste cafe! Co-owner Lenka knew when she opened the cafe in August 2019 that she did not like the idea of giving away plastic. The cafe was designed to be fully waste free in the front of the house operations. So although Cat & Cow may have looked like a regular cafe from the outside, it was a very different experience on the inside with no single use plastic in sight.

But in March 2020, everything was forced to change for Cat & Cow. The COVID-19 pandemic saw most places begin banning reusables and Cat & Cow had to introduce disposables – a difficult decision which went against the ethos of their cafe. But they tried to do this as environmentally friendly as possible. Everyone was encouraged to bring their own cups and about 70% of their customers do! Lenka explained it is only the new customers who take disposable cups, and they are encouraged to bring their own next time. They also encourage going ‘topless’ without a lid for the cup and offer a composting service. The single use cups used by Cat & Cow are commercially compostable and recyclable in the yellow bin, so they tell those who take the cups that they can bring it back and compost it.

The message of Cat & Cow Coffee is clear. Their mission statement is printed on signs around the cafe and on the door. When people walk inside, they already know something is different! Their ethos of sustainability and goal of being a zero waste coffee shop has created a beautiful community, with 75% of customers returning. So many people want to have the conversations Cat&Cow encourages, want to talk about how they can limit their waste and want to educate others about what Cat&Cow is doing. 

Cat&Cow has a number of other innovative waste reduction initiatives. For takeaway, they have takeaway jars which require a $2 deposit, and these glass jars can be used to take smoothies, bircher and granola and then returned! The cafe composts all food scraps, their coffee cups and their containers. They try to use every ingredient, such as using the scraps from their juice in their carrot cake. Everything in the kitchen is recycled cardboard and paper and they recycle their soft plastics at a local recycling centre. Cat&Cow are trying to use as many organic ingredients as possible but it is not always viable for everything, so Lenka looks to find local suppliers, buy food in bulk and reduce single use packaging. 

To highlight the success of all this hard work, Cat&Cow Coffee has almost no general waste! The cost of their bin per month is less than $100, far less in comparison to cafes of a single size which is usually $300. And they also save money by not having to buy as many single use cups and containers.

So it is clear why Cat&Cow Coffee is a gold-bean rated cafe, and we are so excited to see other cafes follow in their footsteps to becoming zero-waste. And hey, we think coffee tastes best in a reusable cup anyway!