Forgotten your reusable cup again? No worries! At Britomart, you can now hire an Again Again cup at most of the precinct’s cafes, and return it for a refund next time you visit.

The Again Again reusable coffee cup programme launched in Wellington last year, and now it’s arrived in Auckland. Designed as an answer to the problem of people forgetting their reusable cups (or just not owning one in the first place), the programme lets you hire a stainless steel reusable cup from any participating cafe, and return it to any participating cafe for a refund. We talked to Amanda Lowe, Auckland operations lead for the programme, about how it all works.

What was the impetus behind Again Again? 

295,000,000 single use cups going to landfill each year in Aotearoa is a strong motivator to build a circular economy and design those cups out. Nada [Piatek, co-founder of the project] was working in the leadership team at Sustainability Trust where some of the programmes are supporting businesses to put in systems to reduce waste. We could see that packaging was inherently flawed and that this industry is crying out for a solution.

How is the Again Again system different from bringing our own KeepCup (or similar) to a cafe? 

The big difference is that Again Again cups are ready, clean and waiting for you at the cafe – there is no requirement for you to have yours with you and sparkling clean. Personal reusable cups are an excellent solution if you can manage that (don’t stop it!) but for those people who can’t, or those times when you forget, Again Again is there for you.

How many disposable cups might this scheme save? 

On the assumption of 20 percent uptake in the cafes we already have on board (we have some data to suggest that this is about right), we are already diverting 30,000 cups a month from landfill. Once the Auckland cohort gets up to speed, this will jump to about 50,000 per month. By the end of the two-month pilot, with Auckland and Wellington cafes combined, we will have diverted 1 million cups from landfill in the first 6 months of operation, and we have audacious goals that by three years we will de diverting 12 million cups a year from landfill.

Do the cups need to be sparkly clean when we return them?  

No. They need to not be mouldy (no one should have to deal with someone else’s mould!), but all the participating cafes will clean and sanitise the cups, just like crockery.

What do I do with the cardboard sleeve? 

Firstly – you can reuse it. Many times. When it finally fails it can go in paper recycling – a genuine recycling stream that almost everyone has access to. Or even into your home compost (unlike compostable cups).

What’s in it for the cafes? 

The opportunity to be a part of the solution and a systematic, scalable reduction in packaging, that’s super marketable. Oh, and some crazy cost savings on single use cups. As uptake grows, their savings are going to grow on all the single use cups they are not having to buy. Work out how much here!