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Small changes to make in your café, today.

Small changes to make in your café, today.

Motivated by Plastic-Free July and the awareness it aims to spread throughout the globe, we’re sharing some simple things that cafés and restaurants can do to reduce plastic waste. We asked a few of our customers to give you their top tips, from one café to another.


Sip Kitchen – Auckland


  1. Use re-usable beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap to keep food fresh. We used to spend $2.7k on plastic wrap per year before we moved to use beeswax wraps.


  1. If you have to use single-use packaging, make sure it’s compostable - we get a lot of takeaway orders, so we moved to Ecoware’s compostable packaging to reduce the amount of single-use plastic our stores create. We have compostable paper salad boxes, Ingeo bioplastic containers, Ingeo bioplastic smoothie cups and lids, coffee cups and lids, bamboo cutlery, napkins, dump tube liners and paper straws. We have special organic waste bins at both of our stores, where customers can return the items that require commercial composting so that they can be appropriately composted by We Compost. 


  1. Talk to your suppliers to reduce the use of single-use plastic. We have worked with our suppliers to reduce the use of single-use packaging in our orders. Our suppliers know we prefer ‘free flow’ in the box, and this has reduced the number of individually bagged items we receive. We reuse the boxes as much as possible as well. 


Hapi – Hawkes Bay


A key question to start thinking about in pursuing zero-waste is….is it waste at all? The most important strategy is changing your mindset and seeing the potential. This doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen, and it definitely snowballs. 


  1. Buy in bulk!!
  2. Talk to suppliers to minimise packaging and sell in bulk volumes. For example, we buy chicken frames in 10kg bags, milk in 10L bladders, tofu in unpackaged catering packs, coconut cream in 20L boxes. Then to follow, always specify low packaging options when you order.
  3. Replace supply chains if a low-waste option is available elsewhere. Local producers are more accommodating with these requests, or you could switch to homemade for some things! We chose to make our own coconut milk rather than introduce a new waste stream. You can make these kinds of decisions too.
  4. Focus on only generating waste that is reusable, recyclable or compostable. 


    Hapi’s suggestions to do tomorrow:

    • Create a zero-waste policy in your business.
    • Engage a composting service.
    • Order compostable packaging.
    • Contact a milk company that sells in bulk and ask them to supply you.
    • Contact your key dry goods supplier and talk about getting products in bulk.


    Hapi photography: Ashley Scott/ Hapi Ora