Viva la Cup

Zero waste champion Lily Yap is making it easier for cafe-loving Melburnians to access reusable cups through her social enterprise, Viva la Cup. We helped five central-city cafes with set-up costs to join the movement through our Single-use Waste Reduction Fund.

1. What inspired you to create Viva la Cup?

I started to reduce my personal waste by doing simple things like bringing my own water bottle, carrying produce bags and food containers, and shopping at bulk and op-shops. Consciously saying ‘no’ to waste, I found that there were limited and often inconvenient or expensive solutions for anyone trying to reduce waste. I started Viva la Cup because I want to make reusable alternatives as convenient and easy to use as single-use disposables.

2. How can people get involved?

Simply visit a participating cafe and order a coffee or hot drink in a Viva la Cup for a $10 deposit. Viva la Cup is a stainless steel cup, double-walled to keep your drinks warmer for longer. People can take away and return the cup at any participating cafe for a full refund of the deposit.

With support from the City of Melbourne, five cafes have joined us for our launch: Kings and Knaves Espresso, La Kuaizi, Basement Cafe, Jungle Juice Bar and Kape. We’ll list more on our website as our network grows, and we invite everyone to tell their favourite cafe about Viva la Cup.

3. What has been your favourite part of the journey so far?

Starting a social enterprise is a wonderful ride. One of my favourite parts is building relationships with the cafes. We share stories and ideas about how to encourage more people to choose reusables. The cafes are passionate about reducing waste, so we are working together to build a sustainable network that works for both their customers and their businesses.

4. What is your vision for the future of cafe sustainability?

Melbourne has a great cafe culture and I don’t want that to ever change. But I envision a future without single-use disposable items. By working together across the hospitality sector, there is a lot we can do to replace disposable coffee cups, cutlery, straws, plates, take-away containers, and food packaging.

I also have high hopes that we will find ways to minimise food waste and reduce the carbon footprint of cafes, contributing to a waste-free, truly sustainable and beautiful city.

To find out more, visit Single-use Waste Reduction Fund.