Conscious cafe

Conscious cafe

#Act for the Wild, #Taronga Conservation Society Australia

Posted on 27th June 2018 by Media Relations

The ocean is the lifeblood of Sydney – and even if you don’t live by the beach, all drains lead to the sea. That’s why we’re thrilled when we hear about locals making conscious efforts to shape a more sustainable Sydney - not just for Plastic Free July, but all year round.

We sat down with Neutral Bay coffee connoisseurs Tonic Lane to find out how small business decisions can create big change.

Inspired by the ABC’s War on Waste, in the winter of 2016 Lain Tapsall and her team at Tonic Lane Café & Ginoteria decided to act on their long held concern about the environmental impact of single use items. Takeaway coffee cups seemed the logical place to start and from the motto that “a little project can make a difference”, the Mug Movement was born.

“For customers who BYO a reusable cup or mug, we reward them with double stamps on their ‘love me back coffee card’.

“For those who forget their reusable vessel, we allow them to borrow from our back up mug shelf….for takeaway we swapped to a compostable option for which we charge an extra 50c and enlighten customers as to why they should avoid single use vessels.”

Since the birth of the Mug Movement, Tonic Lane has seen 80% of its customers convert to BYO cups or sit in coffees. By its second anniversary in August this year, it will have saved 150,000 single use cups from ending up in landfill. But it hasn’t all been keep cups and smiles.

“The reactions were very mixed. From the start we lost some of our regulars who were deterred by the 50c levy and lecture.”

“But by month three of the Mug Movement, we had attracted a broader customer base who were of a similar sustainable mindset, so we started to experience more positive responses. We are glad we kept going with our project even though we stood solo and it was classed as a bold move.”

With the ongoing success of the Mug Movement, Tonic Lane has started tackling other single use items like bottles and bags. Want a bottle of water to takeaway? For a coin donation, they’ll fill up one of their tonic bottles with your preference of still or sparkling. Forgot a bag on your way to the supermarket? Grab a reusable tote from the community share bin.

For those wanting to lighten their footprint on the environment, the team at Tonic Lane has learned that it’s best to educate yourselves first before instigating major change to your business offering.

“Stay focussed and keep going over the bumps and negative responses that occur from time to time”.

“And remember, it’s better to start somewhere than not making an attempt at all!”

Find out more about Tonic Lane and other inspirational Australian businesses & schools through Taronga’s Litter Free Oceans campaign and sign up for a free toolkit to help you on your own journey.

Or why not pop in and say hello? You can visit Tonic Lane Café & Ginoteria at 8 Young Lane, Neutral Bay Sydney.

The staff at Tonic Lane Cafe & Ginoteria
The staff at Tonic Lane Cafe & Ginoteria