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KeepCup Kickstarts Behaviour Change
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KeepCup Kickstarts Behaviour Change
Pass it on
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I'm reading
KeepCup Kickstarts Behaviour Change
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Pass it on
Partners
14 April 2022

KeepCup Kickstarts Behaviour Change

We get to know the brilliance behind KeepCup and what’s in store for this iconic Australian business.

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Discussed in this Story

KeepCup was the first to create a barista standard reusable cup. When and how did this journey begin?

Following a successful career as a solicitor at a small law firm, our founder Abigail set up a small chain of cafes across the city called Bluebag, alongside her brother Jamie. They loved being part of the Melbourne coffee culture, but very soon they became alarmed by the amount of disposable packaging being wasted. Abigail started searching for a more sustainable and environmentally conscious way to serve food, and following the first prototype attempts in 2008, the concept of KeepCup was born just a year later.

The goal from the get-go was to kickstart behaviour change, from a discard mentality to reuse – to start a positive movement that would change the status quo. KeepCup started with a simple idea that guides us to this day: keep it and use it again. We continue encouraging everyday change by asking people to buy a KeepCup and more importantly, use it. Every. Single. Day. This is where the real contribution happens, it really is this simple!

While the whole purpose of the business was to drive an environmental outcome, it was soon apparent that there were many ways to draw people into the sustainability conversation – great coffee, colour and design, usability. Luckily, Abigail had the insider scoop on how baristas work behind the machine and what can fit under the group heads. All these careful design and usage considerations allow us to enjoy great-tasting coffee in any KeepCup.

KeepCup eliminates single use from the equation. How else does KeepCup contribute to a sustainable future?

We’re in business for better. As a founding B Corporation member, we are committed to making a positive impact for all we interact with – our workers, customers, suppliers, communities, and the environment. This holds us all to a rigorous review process, pushes us to keep learning and ensures that every decision we make, be it concerning product design, supply chain or logistics, we always consider the planet, and the people impact first. By becoming B CorpTM certified we’re legally bound to consider, and report on our impact.

KeepCup is also a member of 1% for the Planet, donating at least 1% of global revenue to environmental causes every year. We have donated over $2,000,000 over the years, to organisations and campaigns that advocate against single-use, and for a biodiverse planet. Our partners include Reground, Sea Shepherd, Planet Ark’s Circular Economy Hub, Bob Brown Foundation, Plastic Free July Foundation and One Million Women, to name but a few.

Sustainability touches every aspect of our business and operations, from packaging to the toilet paper we use. A few fun facts: we have bees and flowers to pollinate them as well as staff composting capabilities at our HQ, and the solar batteries that generate all power at our premises, push about 50000 kw back into the grid daily. Just another way we give back to the community!

What makes KeepCup unique as a company and as a product?

We are the Australian company that revolutionised the way many of us drink and, more importantly, enjoy our takeaway espresso. It used to be an awkward moment to pull out a reusable cup in a café, or any other social scenario. Little did we know back in 2009 that we and our customers would soon create an entire category! Thanks to our commitment to principles that carry our business, and the everyday changemakers who use their KeepCup, reuse is becoming the norm. For so many years we have been relentless in advocating for and shaping the single-use-plastic-free future for us all! It is inspiring to now be able to see KeepCup users diverting millions of disposable cups (and now plastic bottles!) from landfill, every year.

As for our product, the KeepCup is the world’s first barista-standard reusable cup. It starts with considered design, the understanding of how a KeepCup is used behind the coffee machine, how to create and keep intact the coffee crema, measure the exact pour volumes, and achieve the perfect flavour, on-the-go. The intentionally tapered rim of every cup and lid ensures any drink can be enjoyed lid-on, or off. It doesn’t stop here; product materiality and safety has always been a strong consideration. We offer, BPA, BPS, phthalates including DEHP, lead and cadmium-free Original, Glass and Thermal KeepCups to ensure you find one that best suits your busy lifestyle. To add, product hygiene and modularity were non-negotiables for us. Every KeepCup is not only easy to pull apart and clean but has also been designed to be fully customisable and repairable, with every part fully replaceable.

What are your values, and how do you integrate them in the way you do business?

For us, it’s about challenging the norm, a solutions-driven approach and appreciation for great design. For our customers it is the same! And this alignment grows the business and the reuse movement around the world. With every innovation and new product we launch, these values and guiding principles remain and keep us in check. We continue asking ourselves, are we solving a problem, will it be appreciated by consumers and, when there’s not a solution or a mediocre system available, what’s stopping us from creating one?

This, along with an unbridled enthusiasm, optimism and ownership of every individual who makes up our business, are what brings the magic to the everyday. Cliché as it sounds, but we must see opportunities where there are challenges, and inspire the right attitude and a positive work environment to get to the ultimate result. Having the right team and mindset continues to underscore the integrity of our mission.

What are your hopes in the world of reusables?

New materials, new technologies, new laws, and a solid infrastructure to support them. We couldn’t stand any firmer behind the ban on the use of all single-use plastic and its complete phase out (in Australia) by 2025. Until this future becomes a reality, we will stay our course, working to increase positive impact and practise circular design, focusing on reduced consumption, reuse, and repair, campaigning for a world where we neither want, need, or use single-use plastic.

What’s next for KeepCup?

Well, there’s exciting times ahead! We may be known as the original non-conformists in the reduce and reuse space, but we never stop innovating. Our latest release challenges the convenience culture even further. It helps consumers overcome some of the principal obstacles to the long-term use of reusable products by offering more opportunities and occasions to reuse through the day.

From 21 March 2022 we are bringing you a new twist on reuse, adding a long awaited KeepCup Bottle (the first in our new, twist-fit Helix Range) to our offering. This modular, cup-to-bottle system lets you twist together your favourite new Original or Thermal KeepCup into a classic or mixed material bottle, or a thermal flask, to make more of your on-the-go moments. Just another way to help limit the amount of unwanted plastic bottles from the linear use-and-dispose economy. The future’s bright!

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