Gordon Campbell, owner of Flat-Out Coffee in Trim

Brewing up a fresh look at coffee cup waste

Trim hopes to move away from disposable coffee cups towards a returnable version to reduce carbon and protect its environment.

A new project is brewing in Trim which, if successful, would see the popular visitor destination take a significant step to improve its environment.

Local environmental groups Sick of Plastic Trim and Trim Tidy Towns are working with local businesses to introduce a project to replace disposable coffee cups with a returnable version.

The scheme would mean that customers pay a €2 deposit for their cup the first time they get their coffee. When they return the cup, they can get their deposit back or hand the cup in and get their next coffee in a fresh cup. The scheme means that coffee cups would not end up in the environment or in bins.

It is the same principle as the Deposit Return Scheme that has been introduced for plastic bottles and cans.

Those behind the initiative hope that the scheme will "help customers to remember to bring their keep cups or take the time to relax and enjoy a lovely coffee in a ceramic mug".

Gordon Campbell, owner of Flat-Out Coffee, hopes that the scheme goes ahead.

Sick of Plastic Trim and Trim TT claim that if successful, the scheme would take over 360,000 disposable cups out of circulation in the town in a full year, or around 1,000 each day: "Most disposable cups are not recyclable as they contain a mix of plastic and paper. Even those that are rarely find their way into recycling bins and end up going for incineration or into our environment. It seems a shame that trees are being cut down so that people can use a coffee cup for a few minutes and then throw it away. The incineration of disposable cups releases carbon that contributes to an already overheating planet."

Tidy Towns volunteer Joan Hannan hopes that the scheme goes ahead, as it would make her life much easier: "Disposable coffee cups and lids are a common sight for those of us tasked with keeping the town tidy. The lids in particular can be difficult to reach, especially in green spaces. It would be fantastic if we no longer had to do it. We would then have more time to work on projects to improve local amenities."

Michael Breen from Sick of Plastic Trim said: "We have been engaging with food and beverage outlets in the town for some time now and the response has been generally positive."

He added: "Local business owners want to do their bit for the planet and the local environment. We think that this initiative can give them the opportunity to do that. It would also put Trim on the map as a sustainable visitor destination, alongside Killarney, the only other town in Ireland to have introduced this scheme so far. Locals there have seen a marked reduction in litter in their National Park since introducing the scheme."

Joan Hannan, Trim Tidy Towns volunteer, hard at work.

Gordon Campbell, owner of Flat-Out Coffee in Trim, believes that the scheme has the potential to be a game changer for local businesses: "The opportunity to take part in an initiative like this can't be understated. Not only can we as coffee shop owners contribute toward a bigger goal of sustainability but we can also find real savings to our overheads."

The organisers of the initiative are currently finalising their plans and hope to launch in June, if they can get sufficient local backing. They plan to present the scheme to local businesses later this month: "Drogheda Credit Union has agreed to sponsor the scheme and our local councilors have also been very supportive. We could do with more funding if any firms out there are looking for a sustainability project to support."

For more details contact Michael Breen in Sick of Plastic Trim on 0877716980