One Year of Zero Waste Coffee.
This month we celebrated one year of trading at our zero waste coffee shop: Into Coffee. We started Into Coffee to facilitate caffeinated conversations with Melbourne’s sustainably minded community and work towards scalable circular systems.
Here’s what we’ve learnt so far:
We learnt that being zero waste is fucking hard. There are different interpretations and definitions for a ‘zero waste’ business. Our definition is “If it comes into our cafe, it doesn’t end up in landfill” and we publicly labeled ourselves zero waste to hold ourselves accountable. It’s our commitment to our customers to continuously experiment, innovate and refine scalable circular systems.
We learnt it is in fact possible to drink too much coffee in one day.
We learnt you can make seriously good soap from barista-spun milk that didn’t make it into your coffee. Thanks Farm Goat for that one.
We learnt Dodgy Paper can turn order dockets into soap wrappers and signage.
We learnt that Melbourne has a deep community of innovative eco-minded legends. The people we have met and the inspiring work they’re doing has by far been the most exciting part of Into Coffee. Some days we can all feel a bit flat about the pace of action towards sustainability. But for every one of those days, there’s someone out there busting their butt to speed up the process. That’s why we started our free monthly catch up at the Circular Innovation Club, to bring all of you eco warriors together in the same room.
We learnt Smith & Deli’s donuts are possibly the best baked good to ever enter a mouth.
We learnt you don't find it (uncomfortably) weird if Into Carry are cutting and sewing waste materials into carry bags while you sip latte's and munch toasted sangas.
We learnt transparency is greenwashing’s Kryptonite. Every day there’s a few more tonnes of eco jargon spat from the mouths of large organisations and companies promising to change the world. So how can the “good guys'' break through the noise and hold their audience's trust? By being transparent AF. A business with nothing to hide is a HUGE advantage in today's world and it needs to be exercised. That’s why we talk about the waste that’s slipped through the cracks and the fact we have a dozen boxes of material out the back waiting to be repurposed. We’re not proud of these mistakes but we’ve learnt from them. Communicating them to our community can help others learn too.
We learnt alternative oat milk cartons make great take away sanga containers.
We learnt that collaboration is essential to circular systems. (cheers to Schulz & The Udder Way for that).
We learn progress is better than perfection. As long as you continue to move forward. So in the spirit of progress, I’m going to wrap this post up (it’s the third time I’ve tried to complete it). We will be documenting our journey more regularly to share our progress and encourage others to start, continue or refine their efforts to help move us to sustainable systems.
And last but not least, a huge thank you to our staff, our community and our suppliers for a cracker of a year. We wouldn’t have made it through the first year without you all and we’re currently sitting on a 12/10 excitement and energy level for 2023.