Reusable vs compostable
As the scale of the problem is increasingly understood, there have been some great responses. Efforts are being made, and every one of them should be applauded.
Reusable cups are becoming increasingly popular. If you can have your takeaway coffee poured into a reusable cup then the problem disappears - it's really that simple. Sadly though, tightly held commercial figures would suggest that these personal reusable cups make a tiny dent in the problem. Our own investigation suggests 2% - 4% over all, with cafes in high traffic/commercial areas reporting markedly less than that, and some particularly sustainably-minded cafes reporting substantially more.
And in recent months/years there has been a sideways shift, and cafes have mostly transitioned to using compostable cups.
These cups are marginally better, in that they compost and don’t produce methane if the cups are captured and directed to a compost facility. In New Zealand there are only 11 of these facilities nationwide and for the most part consumers can’t access a pathway to get these cups to them, so this solution too broadly fails. We have been unable to find any NZ statistical data, but In the UK it is estimated that only 1 in 400 cups get to a composting facility, of which they have significantly more.
Undoubtedly, reusable options are the superior option. Yours or ours!