You might have already noticed that there have been a few changes happening throughout the restaurant. These changes are because we are striving to minimise our waste and encourage the community to do the same. Through doing this Tallwood has now been recognised as a Responsible Cafe.
What does this mean?
An unbelievable 1 billion takeaway cups and lids are landfilled or littered each year in Australia Contrary to popular belief, they are poorly recyclable and only rarely composted due to inadequate industrial composting facilities and the difficulty of getting the cups/lids there.
Worse still, many of them end up in the ocean, where they photodegrade over time into smaller and smaller pieces which marine life mistake for food, disrupting the ocean food chain. In addition are the detrimental health effects: carcinogens with adverse effects on the adrenal, endocrine, reproductive and other bodily systems – leach from the plastic lining into the hot beverage, and are then unknowingly consumed by customers.
What can we do?
We have recently starting offering customers a 50 cent discount on coffee when they bring a reusable cup for us to fill in place of a single-use coffee cup.
We discourage the use of straws.
On the weekend I took a fresh juice to a table without a straw. The gentleman immediately asked for one. I replied to the customer “No problems, I can get you a straw. But would you allow me to explain why I didn't put a straw in your beverage?”
After explaining that we are discouraging the use of single-use plastic throughout the restaurant to minimise our footprint in the community and promote a more sustainable living he was more then happy to drink he’s juice straw free!! This was a great success and we found that simply explaining the reasons behind the lack of straw, people will be more then willing to give them up.
Did you know coffee grinds are great for the garden? We save our coffee grinds and give them to our lettuce supplier for fertiliser. Another great way to minimise waste as not all waste is rubbish. Think of ways to use every bit of food you can. Peels of citrus fruits are great to infuse liquids with. Try infusing vodka or gin with grapefruit peels or your home made surface spray with orange or lemon peel.
Making sure we recycle responsibly and correctly is no longer as easy as looking for the 3 arrowed triangle. Unfortunately living in a rural area means we have limited services when it comes to recycling. For instance, soft plastics such as wrappings, plastic bags, glad wraps or any plastics that when crushed retains it shape (doesn’t break) are not recyclable through the Shoalhaven City Council even though they may bare the recycling triangle.
Soft plastic CAN be recycled with a little extra effort. Simi has been collecting our soft plastics from the restaurant and sending them to a company called REDcycle down in Melbourne.
Unfortunately this is a 2 step forward, 1 step back situation. Trying to do the right thing and sending these soft plastic’s to be disposed of responsibly results in more exhaust emission’s in the transportation process. Hopefully with a little extra pressure and commitment from the community we will have the necessary services in the near future.
We still have a long way to go, not only in the restaurant but in the community also. Like minded people need to continue the conversation, keep pushing forward and promote a cleaner and greener community for us all to enjoy. We all made the move or stayed in this beautiful beach side town because we love to be outdoors and enjoy the clean ocean. Together we need to preserve it for the future generations to come.