“HuskeeSwap” – a World-First


The return of reusables is certainly upon us! So what better time than now to introduce our incredible partners and friends at Huskee. Huskee is a design company envisioning a waste-free world through the creation of beautiful and practical products. The mission of Responsible Cafes and Huskee go hand in hand – and this is why we are proud to work with an inspiring company that is not only investing in the planet, but creating a brew-tiful sharing community for all coffee lovers out there!

If you tuned into our Stronger Together Cafe Summit, you may have heard from Michael McFarlane – the wiz behind the world-first HuskeeSwap. Don’t worry if you missed it, just check out the video linked below to hear all Michael’s reusable wisdom. 

Let’s find out how the story of Huskee began:

The founders of Huskee saw that the production of coffee generates millions of tonnes of waste in the form of coffee husk. Coffee husk is a discarded byproduct of coffee processing. The Huskee team also noted the 500 billion single-use coffee cups that pile up in landfill each year as a result of takeaway coffee. They decided to tackle both waste problems through the creation of HuskeeCup and HuskeeSwap!

You may have already heard about these absolutely amazing innovations – but of course, we are here to tell you even more.  



Huskee uses HuskeeTech to repurpose coffee husks to create a world-first biopolymer – a HuskeeCup! The initial idea with this design was to repurpose the coffee husk waste and use it to create a reusable cup that displaces single use plastic and stops waste at the source.

The HuskeeCup is an elegant cup that can be used in your home, in cafes and as a reusable. It received the ‘Good Design Award – Best In Class’ and comes in a range of cafe-ready sizes. The HuskeeCup can handle the demands of even the busiest cafes! And, a HuskeeCup is your ticket to HuskeeSwap.

Now let’s talk about HuskeeSwap…

Michael McFarlane is the man in charge of HuskeeSwap. He joined the Huskee team to help the transition from single-use cups and to improve the workflow and sanitation of reusables. HuskeeSwap is an incredible cup exchange system operating in 22 countries. Best described as a ‘Reusable Takeaway Coffee Cup Replacement System’ – this process has helped cafes tackle the problems posed by the pandemic when it comes to reusables!  How this process works is:


  1.  A customer drops off their HuskeeCup and Lid to a participating cafe
  2. They order their coffee as usual
  3. The customer gets their coffee in a fresh, clean HuskeeCup!

This is the overall picture of HuskeeSwap, but through our long-standing connection with Huskee, we were able to dive deeper with Michael into the process behind HuskeeSwap – for both the cafe and the customer!

To participate, cafes hold a float of Huskees that are pre-washed and ready to swap with customers. For customers to participate, they purchase a HuskeeCup to be able to swap. Simple as that!

All Huskees that are handed in are put aside to be washed with the cafe’s cutlery/ceramics, and the cafe provides a pre=washed, ready-to-go cup that is sanitised on site (at a minimum temperature for a minimum duration). It is perfectly safe and actually offers additional hygiene benefits, rather than washing your reusable in the office! This system offers a streamline workflow for dealing with reusables which gets rid of all those pesky problems baristas face fiddling with lids, remembering whose reusable is whose, and trying to work out sizes! This has a positive impact on both workflow and the purchase model aspect. Because customers need a cup to swap, and cafes are selling HuskeeCups, the revenue made from cup sales helps offset the operational costs of washing the cups! And to top it all off, Michael says HuskeeSwap is infinitely scalable because it is not limited to grants or funding. 

And the process is easy! Taken from the Huskee website: Cafés can register to be HuskeeSwap locations, and cultivate a steady crowd of loyal HuskeeCup fans who cycle through cups for years without ever disposing of any plastics into landfill. What an environmentally-friendly way to increase your customer base!


Meet The Family

Any cafe who has takeaway trade can not only participate in this system, but reap the benefits. Some cafes may have 100 swaps a day, and some cafes have a 100% swap rate! But even if there are just 5 customers converted to reusables – then that is an incredible win! HuskeeSwap is designed to coexist with single-use cups and other reusables. After all, the goal is to design waste out of products and reduce waste in the coffee industry – however big or small. And the Huskee team is working hard to close the loop on waste – through HuskeeLoop, they will be recollecting and repurposing all HuskeeSwap cups at the end of their lifespan.

So here at Responsible Cafes, we are reaching out to our fellow coffee drinkers and cafe owners to join this global community of cup-swappers and help rid the world of single-use coffee cups, close the loop on waste and best of all, enjoy your coffee of choice like a cool Keen Bean in your repurposed coffee husk cup – to tell the world about of course!


Go ahead and check out our interview with with Michael below from our Stronger Together Cafe Summit!