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22 January, 2021

Café gives disposable cups the bird!

AUSTRALIANS throw out a whopping 2.7 million single-use or disposable coffee cups every single day, and they are not easily recycled due to their plastic lining and contamination, often ending up in landfill, or worse, as plastic litter in our environment.

By Tanya Murphy

Blackbird Warehouse café founder Troy Furner, Plastic Free Cairns coordinator Helen Reilly, and staff show off some of the eco-friendly alternatives to single use disposable coffee cups. PHOTO: Tanya Murphy

That’s why Blackbird Warehouse café are giving single use disposable coffee cups the bird this month, by offering free coffee to people who remember to bring their own reusable cup on #UseYourOwnCupDay next Thursday, January 28 from 6:30am to 1pm.

It’s been said it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so café staff have spent the last three weeks building the reusable cup habit with customers and on the last day of the challenge, they’ll celebrate #UseYourOwnCupDay!

Blackbird Warehouse is the first business to represent Cairns in this cross-country supercharged New Year’s Resolution Challenge, in which 24 cafes across Australia and New Zealand will be aiming to have a 100 per cent Reusable Cup Only Day by the end of January, with no single-use cups going out the door.

This is a unique initiative between Plastic Free Cairns (part of Australia’s Boomerang Alliance Plastic Free Places program) and Use Your Own Cup NZ (

The campaign has already made a difference in coffee drinker’s habits. In the first week, from January 8 to 14, Blackbird Warehouse recorded that 55 per cent of hot beverages sold were in reusable cups. This comprised of five per cent of customers bringing their own cup, 15 per cent utilising the free reusable cup loan network Green Caffeen, 35 per cent dining in, and 45 per cent using a single-use cup.

But the aim is to reach 100 per cent reusable for #UseYourOwnCupDay next Thursday, with several well-known local personalities and influencers expected to pop in and post a #MugShot Selfie with their reusable cups at the Newell Street café.

“We think we can definitely achieve this goal with the help of all our customers. So please remember to BYO cup, dine in, or sign up to borrow a free “greencaffeen” cup to join in the single use free party,” said Blackbird Espresso brand founder Troy Furner.

“Any old cup will do - a jar, a mug, a tumbler, a reusable coffee cup made of stainless steel, reusable plastic or glass... If you forget your own cup, you can borrow a free reusable cup from our greencaffeen swap-n-go system, or choose to chill out and dine in!”

To borrow a free reusable cup, simply register by downloading the Green Caffeen mobile phone app from and swap/return your cup to any participating store within 30 days.

Green Caffeen will be shouting existing and new members a free coffee on the day, and will also going to be shouting the first 40 people who bring along their reusable cups with a free coffee too.

“Chances of receiving a free coffee are extremely high, all whilst helping save the planet and form healthy habits!” said Mr Furner.

“Please come and make our day by participating and hopefully we can make yours too! Lets supercharge 2021 with reusables and start to wean our single use habits!”

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