Australians throw out a staggering 2.7 million single-use or disposable coffee cups every day, amounting to one billion coffee cups thrown out each year. In response to this waste crisis, Reusably, an Adelaide-based sustainability start-up, is on a mission to eliminate
excessive use of disposable goods and accelerate the transition away from single-use plastics.
While reusable cups and containers have become popular in the last few years, left at home or the office, they are not with you when you need them, and compostable alternatives often end up in the wrong bin.
Reusably is changing the way we experience takeaway. What was once a one-way, wasteful, and impersonal transaction is being transformed into a conscious experience that opens a pathway for creative technology and data to change the way we live. Their unique cloud-based software enables cafes, restaurants, stores, and consumers to reduce their waste footprint and track their individual or combined impact. They want to see a world where people are supported in making good choices for the environment and society without having to sacrifice their wallet or free time.
Initially founded whilst participating in a HEX Program in San Francisco in 2018, the team saw a need for a convenient and cost effective solution that met hygiene and safety standards. Each with a passion for sustainability and bringing a breadth of skills to the table, they explored solutions that integrated modern technologies and behaviours in order to make reusables more accessible and cost-effective for individual users and businesses. Starting with the idea of a coffee cup swap system, the project grew into a solution that could support the exchange of any reusable container with an endless number of applications through technology. Working closely with communities, they create networks of reusable takeaway packaging to facilitate a seamless transition to the circular economy.
With a Reusably subscription, you can buy any coffee, drink, or meal from any partnered venue and take it away in a Reusably container. While ordering your takeaway food or drink, use the Reusably app to “Tap” the tag located at the point of sale, then choose which containers you would like to take away. Once you’re done, rinse and return containers to any partnered venue. The venue then washes containers as they would for in-house crockery and cutlery to meet OH&S standards, ready for Reusably containers to be used again by the next customer. Safe and simple.
The result is a system that provides customers with the sustainability of a reusable container and the convenience of single-use while allowing partnered venues to reduce their costs and satisfy customer demand for sustainable alternatives. Their NFC technology provides greater data security for container exchange, and de-identified data helps optimise container usage, redistribution and measurement of valuable waste management impact for businesses and councils, which also makes software ideal for other supply chains such as crates, pallets and kegs.
Mary, Filip, Bowie and Tom launched their twelve-month pilot program in Kingscote on Kangaroo Island in March 2022 with support from locals and several partnered venues. Collectively, they explored how communities could be empowered to help reduce their waste footprint, especially in regional areas where waste management is more challenging (in this case needing to be shipped off the island!).
“It has been an honour for the KI business community and the school to work with the Reusably team to pilot their circular economy concept here. As a community that values the clean green environment which enhances the value of our agricultural, horticultural, aqua-cultural and nature based pursuits it was the logical community to launch the project. We look forward to the extension of the project to include other cafés on the island!” (Susi Whitehead – KI Resident).
The team are well on their way to helping make South Australia (and beyond!) single-use plastic free.
With Community Cafe & Bar at Lot Fourteen, South Australia’s Innovation Precinct, as their home base, Reusably is now available across the Adelaide CBD and metro areas. With all locations combined, the Reusably system has diverted hundreds of single use containers from landfill. Watch this space as they expand their footprint and technology to support the global transition to the circular economy.