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Cafe owners
Guide to Reuse

This guide is intended to provide some tips and tricks for beginning to incorporate reuse into your cafe and business and by doing so influence a lifestyle of sustainability.

Less Plastic recognises that cafe owners are the tastemakers of the new generation. Around the globe, cafes have been a space in which cultural movements have been supported. They are community hubs where practices such as fashion, art and activism have fused together, where ideas are formed and where people are influenced.

Coffee culture is becoming increasingly popular in Japan with world renowned cafes popping up around the country. In saying that, there is still a lingering contemplation that cafes in Japan still have some way to lead the world in sustainability. While around the world practices have been put in place to decrease wastage, it is still common practice to see an abundance of single use plastic cups being used.

As an organisation committed to educating and opening up conversations about reuse, we hope this guide can be the first step for your cafe to be a leading example in the growing coffee industry!


Monetary incentives are a common marketing ploy that are used throughout cafes around Australia and the world. Discounts are a straightforward easy approach to intriguing customers towards reuse; the general discount being given is 10% for each reusable cup being used. Another monetary rewarding tactic is to award extra stamps on loyalty cards for customers that bring in their own cups. This easy technique has the potential to grow returning customers as their loyalty card will be used more frequently.

Both these tactics are widely used and fairly simple howeverit would be ideal if cafes could concentrate on the education of reuse rather than customers concentrating on no more than economic gain.


Reuse is a community effort.

By supporting the eco community and bringing more sustainable products in store, it not only supports local artisans but also visually promotes the eco lifestyle to your customer base. At Less Plastic we are trying to cultivate a community where we can recognise the importance of uniting various cafe goers and cafes.

As a cafe owner, conversing with other establishments around the neighbourhood about environmentally conscious implementations is a great way to strengthen community whilst sharing valuable resources.

The path to sustainability is not an individual endeavour so through connecting with other like minded ambitious people we can start to build a change collectively.


Changing the behaviours of others is an ambitious feat, however everything starts small.

Encouraging reuse should be treated in the same vein. Little things such as the encouragement of patrons sitting in or to bringing their reusable cups are just stepping stones towards the changing behaviour of a community.

An example may be the implementation of signs clearly giving two visual options of ‘reusable’ vs ‘takeaway’; the customer can make up their own mind whether they would like to be eco friendly or not.

The act of consciously making a decision will bring the issue of reuse to the forefront.



Being eco friendly can seem daunting and taxing for a lot of people.

In order to be more engaging towards your customer base it may be a good idea to create challenges of participatory initiatives that will allow the customer to see their individual impact on the cause. Something as simple as an in-store tally board that you mark off reusers of the week is an example that is simple and engaging!

Engaging your customers in activities are ways to start a conversation, to show that you care about their concerns, experiences, and opinions.


Now you have a brief introductory guide on points you can work on as a cafe owner; Here's some benefits you can reap for your effort!

Less Wastage, More Savings.

Less unnecessary wastage not only conserves resources but in the long run it’ll save you money! By integrating small changes such as swapping traditional incandescents for energy-efficient lightbulbs, you can easily half your energy bill meaning more bang for your buck.

Gain a new customer base.

Especially in this day of age, younger generations are more conscious about the impact their daily purchases contribute to the planet. Displaying your commitment to eco practices is a great way to attract new customers that are eager to support businesses that are focused on sustainability.

Stimulating innovation.

Along with many endeavours, trying to make a social change has no rulebook. By switching to green practices your business will have to be innovative with their solutions. However, by doing so your company will have the capability to be adaptable when it comes to changing existing practices and any challenges that may be thrown your way.

Set yourself apart.

It’s time to shift towards green practices now! Incorporating these practices into your cafe will set your business apart from the rest. This along with standing out from the crowd will hopefully become a benchmark for the rest of the cafe industry to follow.

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