Time to bin cups for good

Dunedin city councillor Kevin Gilbert wants the city to be free of single-use cups. PHOTO: PETER...
Dunedin city councillor Kevin Gilbert wants the city to be free of single-use cups. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
The morning coffee routine could get a jolt in Dunedin if city councillor Kevin Gilbert gets his way.

Cr Gilbert wants the city to embrace a future without single-use cups.

City council venues might be the initial focus of waste minimisation efforts if reusable cups were to become a matter of policy.

Cr Gilbert has put up a notice of motion to be discussed by the Dunedin City Council tomorrow.

If passed, it would direct the council chief executive to make the Civic Centre, Dunedin City Library, Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Toitū Otago Settlers Museum free of single-use cups by the end of this year.

Dunedin Venues Management would be notified the cups should be gone from its venues from the end of next year.

The council would declare a commitment to having the city move towards being free of single-use cups and it would write to central government seeking a ban on them.

Cr Gilbert said centres such as Wānaka had progressed well down the path of removing the cups from the waste stream, but cities did not seem to be making the same stand.

"I believe that the sentiment and will of many in Dunedin is at the point of wanting to see this change."

The council leading by example should encourage more businesses and hospitality venues in the city to adjust their operations, he said.

Much had been done already within the Civic Centre, but there was room for improvement with Dunedin conferences and events.

"Anyone that has been to an event at the stadium will be well aware of the plastic cups that are used.

"My ideal is to see our stadium follow the example of stadia overseas that have taken to using more solid, reusable cups."

In 2021, the Gilbert’s Fine Food bakery and cafe he runs with his wife Esther in South Dunedin signed up to the Again Again cup lending scheme.

"Right from the beginning, the vast majority of people were thoroughly supportive of the system," Cr Gilbert said.

Others went to cafes where single-use cups were still available.

Removing them completely would require legislative change from central government, as had happened with plastic bags.

Until the hospitality industry as a whole decided to opt out of single-use cups, or a ban came down from central government, it was up to individuals and individual operations to show how it could be done, he said.

He trusted enough councillors would want to take a lead on the issue with council venues.