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Unplugged Sustainability Story

Auckland office chucks 17000+ coffee cups into landfill

Written by Claire Lyons, Local Manager, Quality Environment & Sustainability – New Zealand North Island

"The world drinks 400 billion coffees a year and in New Zealand we're slurping coffee and biffing the cups away at record speed. 

We toss away 100 million cups a year and the final resting place of those cups are overcrowded landfills. 

A hundred million crushed cups is enough to fill nearly two Olympic swimming pools, or a rugby field 60 cm deep of coffee cup waste, or a cone as high as the Sky Tower. Laid end to end, the cup waste each year would take the nation from New Zealand to Honolulu." (Source: www.newshub.co.nz, from the article, Why coffee lovers are polluting NZ landfills)

Aurecon is part of the problem. Fortunately we are choosing to do something about it.

During a recent waste audit, the Auckland sustainability committee discovered that on average the office sends 17000+ disposable coffee cups to landfill every year.  The committee was a little perplexed as to why this was happening as about a year before it had a big push on using re-useable cups.

The committee had also organised and distributed Aurecon branded keep-cups to staff who were willing to use them over disposable ones.

After working out just what 17000+ cups looked like, the committee knew it could simply not ignore the issue and decided that "coffee cups" had to be one of the main focuses for FY16/17.

A new initiative was launched in November 2016: a pledge board asking anyone who has already been given an Aurecon branded keep-cup to pledge to use their cup 100% of the time when getting takeaway coffees, when office based. 

More cups have been ordered and are being given to anyone willing to make the same pledge.  Feedback has been extremely positive and every day we are seeing more people getting behind sustainability committee initiatives like this.

The committee knows there is still much more to do and are more than happy to accept the challenge and asks you all to: Just imagine landfill with no coffee cups and start making your own changes today.

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