by Lisa Peryman June 27, 2017
Well, not quite a bottle - more of a cup. A KeepCup. Not many know this line of reusable takeout cups is from Australia, launched by brother-sister duo Jamie and Abigail Forsyth in 2009 as a solution to some of the excess packaging generated by their fresh food takeaway business.
The need for a reusable container struck Abigail one morning as she handed her toddler daughter warm milk in a sippy cup. "Imagine if I gave her milk in a disposable cup and then discarded it?" thought Abigail. "That idea seemed so wasteful, yet I did it with coffee twice a day! This moment was the call to action," she recounts in the story of how KeepCup came to be.
After two years of research and perfecting their original inspiration, Abigail and her brother unveiled the KeepCup at the 2009 Melbourne Design Market: they were mobbed. The Forsyths credit their cafe background with helping them to come up with a cup that suited both drinkers and baristas who needed a design that wouldn't ruin their crema on first shot.
The KeepCup is not only barista friendly but BPA/BPS free, lightweight, virtually unbreakable and adorable. They're also selling through the roof Down Under right now after the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's three-part War on Waste series finished its run earlier this month. The last episode looked at the life cycle of a disposable coffee cup and upended the popular misconception that the 1 billion cups sent to landfills each year were recyclable. As a result, a shocked nation has fuelled a 400% increase in KeepCup sales the Forsyth's warehouse business is working around the clock to satisfy.
The main revelation driving the demand has been the number of people who didn't realize disposable cups weren't recyclable, Abigail told SmartCompany, an Australian news outlet.
The same misconception flourishes here in Toronto, even though we're reminded on a regular basis by local news media that our so-called "disposable" coffee cups contain a plastic type lining that renders them unsuitable for recycling (according to the city's solid waste management division, they're "contaminants" that belong in the garbage, not the recycling container).
In 2009, the Toronto Star newspaper estimated Torontonians were throwing away around a million cups a day. A blue bin state of confusion finally prompted the city to launch the Bad Things Happen public education campaign in 2016 to help the public identify what and what not to recycle. Coffee cups were among the top five culprits in the What Not category.
Meanwhile, the KeepCup pictured belongs to the author and it's been a friend on the go since the beginning of this year when "a New Year's resolution I can keep" included this one entry: "use a KeepCup. Just do it." That's one big check (mate), thanks to Abigail and Jamie.
To consider a reusable option from our KeepCup selection for yourself, continue here. We carry the original line made from BPA-free, food grade thermal, recyclable polypropylene. The KeepCup Brew made from soda-lime, fully tempered glass with a redesigned hard lid and bigger mouth opening. A version sporting a cork grip band sourced from a sustainable cork forest in Portugal. And, lastly, the KeepCup Longplay, designed to extend heat retention and keep cold drinks cooler longer.
* In Australian slang, bottler is an expression of delight; a person or thing that excites admiration.
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Photography by Lisa Peryman and Richard C. Owens
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Lisa Peryman has worked with Greenpeace Australia and The Wilderness Society (Australia). She studied journalism in New Zealand and book and magazine publishing in Canada. Her background includes reporting and editing for daily newspapers and trade magazines, as well as creative copywriting for broadcast. Lisa is continuing her studies in Canada and currently works with Probe International as an editor and writer. Earnings from Green Beanery operations support the work of Probe International, a Canadian charity that works with citizens' groups around the world to protect their lands and their livelihoods. Probe International is a Canadian trust.