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Our journey – improving the sustainability of coffee cup lids

Our journey – improving the sustainability of coffee cup lids

Up until last week, there was one product that we retailed online, which was not made from plants. You may have seen the option to buy coffee cup lids in either black or white that were Recyclable Polystyrene (PS), made from a non-renewable resource. We are pleased to tell you that we no longer promote Recyclable PS EcoCup lids, which is a development that has come off the back of launching the very first Black Bioplastic (CPLA) coffee cup lid in New Zealand designed to be commercially composted.


Let’s address the elephant in the room as you’re probably thinking, “But their ethos is packaging made from plants?”. When Ecoware first started, compostable packaging did not exist in New Zealand and little was known about it. We battled three years of resistance before finally making our break. People simply did not believe that it was possible to make packaging from plants. It sounded too good to be true, so our strategy was, “Walk before you run”. We quickly discovered that people needed a steady transition over time to test our product for themselves before realising that a plant-based alternative was fit for purpose.


Our mission was to first prove to customers that our plant-based, compostable EcoCups were premium quality before convincing them of the compostable EcoCup lids…and it worked! The majority of our customers made the transition from using Recyclable PS lids to Compostable CPLA lids.


Our long-term strategy has been to continue ordering Recyclable PS lids while we worked to achieve economies of scale with our compostable CLPA lids. We wanted to reduce the price of CPLA lids to make them more affordable and therefore more accessible to a greater number of customers.


Earlier this year, we were proud to launch the first Black Bioplastic EcoCup lid in New Zealand. We supply the majority of New Zealand’s coffee roasting industry and can say that the absence of a black CPLA lid has always been a thorn in our side and for many of our coffee roasters whose brand required a black lid solution.


Now that we have a complete solution and people no longer need convincing of the quality of compostable Bioplastic EcoCup lids, it is our goal to transition our remaining Recyclable PS EcoCup lid customers by 2020. We have already started this process and no longer promote them across our sales channels.


You might be wondering why it will take two years to delete them from our range? Given that our Black Bioplastic EcoCup lids are a market-first, we are rolling them out across an entire industry. As we supply the majority of New Zealand’s coffee roasting industry, this is something that takes time and won’t happen overnight. However, we are confident that most of our customers will make the transition.


We’re incredibly proud of all our customers as they have chosen to join the journey to improved sustainability. Our job is to support them along the way, and we celebrate all progressive steps taken. After all, we will never win if we never begin.