This winter the SUCfree team ran their first ever Lucky Cup Winter Giveaway, a 15-week campaign celebrating plastic-free decisions in their community. 23 local businesses donated prizes to be won by customers who used reusable coffee cups at their local, with 10 cafes participating as giveaway spots. From ski passes to restaurant vouchers and even pot plants, the giveaway was a testament to the number of organisations in Wānaka backing the plastic free movement.
“The campaign was to raise awareness, especially among tourists because obviously we get a lot of tourists in the winter.... but also to celebrate where we are already, and to celebrate those cafes and the people who have been behind this campaign from the beginning. It’s been so much fun and the baristas have really loved giving prizes to people,” says Joanna.
“We’ve had a real mix of community members and tourists who have won them, and hopefully those tourists will go back to their towns and talk about the fact that they used a reusable cup and won a prize and in Wānaka that’s just how it’s done.”
While the shift towards zero waste has been driven by the hospitality industry and the community, both Sophie and Joanna are quick to point out the success of local cup return scheme Wanakup. Providing cafes and food trucks with a rotation of thermally insulated cups and an end-to-end sterilisation process, this social enterprise helped to bolster the campaign through the turbulence of COVID19.
“Covid was a big landmark for Wanakup in that respect,” says Joanna. “I think a lot of cafes were very reluctant to accept reusable cups during the first lockdown and Wanakup provided a solution to that by taking the cups away and sanitising them. This year I did a stocktake of all the SUCfree cafes that were accepting reusable cups during Level 3, and it was all but one. This was amazing because it really showed how people are starting to trust the system.”
Building this trust and a new set of social norms has been one of SUCfree Wānaka’s core missions since the beginning. Having already inspired environmental groups in Queenstown with their model, the team now has their sights firmly set on creating a ‘SUCfree Guide’ that can assist other towns around Aotearoa to make a similar shift and support their communities to choose reusable options.
“That was really one of our goals at the start, to do something in our town that would inspire other towns as well,” says Sophie. “And to make it seem possible - often this stuff seems impossible, but we want to make it accessible and create a blueprint for people all over New Zealand.”
Chia Sisters are so proud to support this movement, providing discounts to cafes that jump on board with SUCfree Wānaka. You can follow the team here for their latest updates and check out the list of participating cafes here.