Passionate people can make all the difference. And when you combine passion and great ideas it’s amazing how a community can create change. Motueka business IdealCup is a great example of just that. Steph and Nick Fry from IdealCup have come up with a very clever solution to help ensure that there is less chance of waste littering our pristine stunning natural landscapes.

Data from the Packaging Forum shows there are 295 million takeaway cups sold each year in New Zealand. Each year more than 200,000 people visit Abel Tasman National Park and are asked to carry out their rubbish at the end of their visit. If these stats leave you feeling a bit daunted, never fear, small changes can make a big difference.

Visitors to Nelson Tasman that pass through Motueka will be seeing CupCycling™ signs in participating cafés and outlets throughout the township. CupCycling™ is a system that works via a simple and effective reusable cup ‘swap’ programme and aims to create a true culture of change – one cup at a time!

“It's important that we take responsibility for our footprint,” says IdealCup co-owner Steph Fry. “Being at the gateway to the Abel Tasman, it's a ‘no brainer’ for us to want to do all we can to support a cleaner, greener region. It’s a way we can be sure that our business processes and products are not adding unnecessary waste to the environment and are having a positive impact on our community, our beautiful environment, and Aotearoa.”

IdealCup owners Steph and Nick Fry were the first to design and manufacture a New Zealand-made reusable coffee cup in 2010 prompted both by seeing first-hand the amount of waste generated by single-use disposable cups, and by completing an audit of waste produced in a year from takeaway cup purchases at their roastery and café business Celcius Coffee.

Steph and Nick decided that they were uniquely positioned, both in business and geographically, to encourage people to get behind the use of reusable cups. In July 2017 they launched a movement to make Motueka disposable cup-free via their innovative CupCycling™ initiative.

Since its introduction in mid 2017, CupCycling™ has been garnering huge support from communities, regions, and towns all over New Zealand and is now even being adopted internationally in Canada. Locally, the numbers are impressive: in just a short time, CupCycling™ in Motueka alone has diverted more than 18,000 single-use takeaway coffee cups from landfill. Golden Bay and Richmond are now also part of the scheme, with multiple cafés signed up in both locations.

Dunedin, Southland, Wairarapa and Whakatāne are all geared to roll out CupCycling in 2019; with more regions set to join in the near future.

“Take the time to commit to just one or two small, sustainable changes, even if they might seem insignificant,” says Steph. “Sustainability is a journey of small steps, it’s about doing what we can do, as we can do it. If we all make a conscious effort to make small change and reduce our individual impact on the environment, the combined effort will be massive.”