South Australia has made history as the first Australian state to ban plastic straws, cutlery and stirrers. The ban, which comes into effect in 2021, prohibits the sale, supply or distribution of plastic cutlery, straws and beverage stirrers.
In a move to lift awareness around buying and creating goods made from recycled content, the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR), has partnered with Green Industries SA (GISA).
People are more likely to use re-usable coffee cups if they see others doing it, or if cafe owners charge extra for throwaway coffee cups, new research has found.
A study badged Coffee On The Run: Cultural and Institutional Factors in Waste Behaviours, by a group of Australian academics, has found people would be more likely to properly dispose of compostable cups if councils provided dedicated organic waste bins. Alternatively, councils could provide facilities allowing people to rinse compostable cups before putting them in a recycling bin
The need to find ways to encourage Australians to quit throwaway coffee cups has never been more urgent. The COVID-19 pandemic has reportedly driven a surge in throwaway cup use as many cafes refused reusable cups at the height of the pandemic.
In places where reusable cups are allowed, however, coffee drinkers, cafe owners and local governments can use insights from behavioural science to discourage use of throwaway cups.
Why imitation works…
The study interviewed consumers, café owners and policy makers in South Australia, and observed customer behaviour in cafes for around 50 hours. One finding became very clear: people mimic each other. Customers consistently told researchers that watching their colleagues bring in their reusable coffee cups (such as a KeepCup) made them change their habits. As one coffee drinker told us:
It appears that, as more consumers start using reusable coffee cups, the practice becomes ever more socially acceptable.
According to a customer, “At first, I would not walk across the road from work holding a cup coming here [to the cafe]. I’d just feel scabby. Because I would have been the minority. It probably was a bit less socially acceptable, but it’s probably more socially acceptable now because when I’m there I do see people walk in with their cups.”
…and discounts don’t
Although many cafe owners offer discounts to customers who bring in their own reusable cups, the findings reveal these are ineffective in changing consumer behaviour.
A cafe owner told researchers described how, despite providing a 20c discount for reusable cups, she didn’t think saving money motivated her customers.
“The regulars were people who’d happily drop in a dollar tip into the jar kept on the counter. They were therefore not that concerned about 20c discount,” she said.
Behavioural psychological literature reports that consumers are more likely to be what’s called ‘loss averse’ as opposed to ‘gain seekers’. In other words, people hate paying extra for takeaway coffee cups more than they like getting a discount for bringing their reusable cups.
Councils need to pivot
Customers often feel uncertain about how and where to dispose them. A council officer told researchers, “In the case of compostable cups, it is not solely a matter of ensuring that the cups end up in any bin, they must end up in the correct bin […] in order for compostable cups to be recycled, they must be placed in a bin dedicated to organic waste or, alternatively, rinsed and placed in a recycling bin.”
However, most cities don’t have enough organic bins or facilities to allow people to rinse compostable cups before putting them in recycling bins. Councils and city governments can address this by introducing organic waste bins as a part of the street waste infrastructure to reduce the number of compostable cups ending up in landfill.
The South Australian government has set an ambitious target of zero avoidable waste to landfill by 2030 which it believes will drive action during and beyond the lifespan of its proposed draft strategy.
South Australia’s Waste and Recycling Industry Association (WRISA) has appointed Adam Gray as CEO who has experience across local government, private consulting and peak industry associations. His areas of speciality include waste and recycling, natural resource management, climate adaptation and street lighting.
More than half of all landfill waste in metropolitan Adelaide is unrecovered resources that could be recycled simply by using the correct recycling or green organics bin, according to new research.
A 20-year infrastructure strategy for South Australia was recently released by Infrastructure SA, encompassing short and long-term strategies to grow the state’s resources sector.
The South Australian Boomerang Alliance of 51 community organisations says that the first move by an Australian government to introduce a law to ban polluting single-use plastic takeaway items is encouraging.
The opening of South Australia’s third funding round of the Regional Growth Fund has been brought forward in a move designed to provide economic stimulus to the state’s regions impacted by bushfires, drought and ongoing impacts of coronavirus.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said that the current round for projects will strengthen regional economies and provide tangible social benefits to local communities. The last round of funding unlocked $14.6 million investment across 10 projects, which are expected to create 160 jobs.
Whetstone added that by bringing forward applications for the Regional Growth Fund the state government’s $350 million stimulus package aimed at safeguarding the economy and protecting jobs will be supported.
“The Marshall Government recognises that supporting our regions is crucial to the future prosperity of our state,” Whetstone said.
“The Regional Growth Fund helps unlock new economic activity in our regions and by bringing applications forward we will help fast-track the recovery of our regional economies, which have been hurting as a result of the recent bushfires, drought and the ongoing impacts of coronavirus.”
10 year commitment
The Regional Growth Fund is a 10-year commitment offering $15 million in grants annually to support projects that will deliver tangible benefits to regional South Australia and most importantly creates jobs.
“Successful projects will be those that not only strengthen the economies of our regions, but also provide real community-wide benefits to the area. The first two rounds of funding are supporting projects that are creating stronger and more resilient regions.
“Thanks to the 2019-20 round of funding, our regional areas will enjoy a wider variety of food and drink experiences, better water and cycling infrastructure, and diverse tourism opportunities, so I’m again looking forward to seeing the range of projects that will make a positive difference in our regional towns and communities.
“I encourage eligible applicants who have a project they feel can strengthen our regional communities to apply.”
Grants up to $2 million
Applicants in the third round can seek grants from $50,000 up to $2 million, with projects to be located within South Australia that offer outcomes and benefits for regional South Australia.
Projects should foster collaboration and demonstrate a commitment to local employment, and purchase local supplies wherever possible. Applications to the Regional Growth Fund will be accepted from local government bodies, incorporated associations and business clusters.
Applications for Round Three of the Regional Growth Fund close at 12pm on Monday May 11, 2020. More information is available at www.pir.sa.gov.au/regionalgrowthfund
More than 160,000 residents across the South Australian cities of Port Adelaide Enfield, Marion, Adelaide and Charles Sturt will receive an improved council service following the award of SA’s largest ever municipal contract to Cleanaway.