Why do cafes give disposable coffee cups to customers who dine in?


I enjoyed a nice cappuccino this morning at a nearby cafe. I’d run out of milk and used this excuse to justify a cappuccino and a snack for breakfast, instead of a boring bowl of cereal and a cup of instant coffee.

When I ordered the coffee, I was given the option of three sizes, and the options of two containers; a mug or a disposable cup. I’d already told the waitress that I would be dining in, and I’d been handed my table number, but she still offered me a disposable cup.

I didn’t think much of it and took my seat. As I was flicking through a magazine, I saw other customers receive their coffees in disposable cups despite the fact that they were dining in, and I recalled other occasions when disposable cups had been offered or given to customers dining in.


I thought disposable cups were designed only for take away purposes, and only for people who are too lazy, ignorant or apathetic to bring their own re-usable cups.

Disposable coffee cups are causing enormous damage to the environment because of the plastic lining and the frequency with which they are used. Furthermore, surely its better to put zero cups into landfill than to put a largely biodegradable cup into landfill.

So why give disposable cups to people who don’t need them?

According to Cafe Bambini, in Townsville, Queensland, which offered me the disposable cup, take away cups are given because…

“A percentage of customers order TA cups when dining in. They believe (sic) stays warmer longer or they want to take it away as they will not finish it on time. So only if requested by the customer.”

Keppel Bay Sailing Club, in Yeppoon, Queensland, only gives disposable cups to customers who dine in. According to the club, 

“…our cafe is designed in a ‘grab and go’ style so we find the disposable cups to be the most useful option for our patrons. Breakages in china cups and mugs (more than normal due to through traffic and the concrete floor) was proving costly and wasteful so we found the bio-degradable, compostable BioPak cups the better option all round.”

The BioPak website claims its products are

“The most sustainable coffee cup solution after reusables…” and that the cups are

“…Lined with Ingeo™ bioplastic – made from plants, not plastic. Certified commercially compostable to AS4736. Designed to be part of the circular economy.”

Thus, there are many reasons why cafes give disposable coffee cups to customers who dine in. Customers can choose the ceramic mug, and take responsibility for the impact they are having on the environment. Or, in the case of venues such as Keppel Bay Sailing Club, they may have to take their own reusable cup when dining in at a cafe.



Only houses with solar panels will be allowed to display Christmas lights.


Extravagant lighting displays form a major part of household Christmas displays in majority Christian nations. However, these displays rely on electricity, and much of this electricity is still supplied by fossil fuels.

It’s time for a law to protect the joy of Christmas and reduce the damage that lighting displays do to the environment. Only houses with solar panels will be permitted to display lights at Christmas time.

Families can still hang Santa from their roof and cover their lawn in reindeers and fake candy, but the bright lights will have to stay in their boxes until that house is powered by solar.

Houses without photovoltaic cells, or solar panels, traditionally rely on coal to supply energy. Coal has been proven to contribute massively to the climate crisis and scientists agree that a transition away from coal energy must be made – and made soon.

The rule should not be difficult to administer. How do you know if a house is powered by solar? Just look on the roof.

Houses which break the rules can be fined, just as they would be fined for any other act of civil disobedience. The rule could serve as a reward for households which have installed the cleaner form of energy, and an incentive for fossil fuel users to do so.

Will this ever happen?

Probably not.

In countries such as Australia, governments are funded by the coal lobby and are resisting the adoption of renewable energy. They are also working very hard to protect and expand coal mining activities. Furthermore, the average citizen in developed nations will cry foul, dismiss their own impact on the environment and criticise a move like this as another example of political correctness, environmental hysteria and an attack on an innocent tradition that brings joy to their children.

Burning excessive fossil fuels, however, is not innocent – and it is their children who will suffer the consequences of a planet severely damaged by the continued use of fossil fuels.

The situation of the planet is desperate, and seemingly extreme measures need to be taken in order to halt the damage that is currently being done. This includes turning off a few Christmas lights.



Courage: Berta Caceres.


Berta Caceres personified courage.

The Honduran environmental activist devoted much of her life to campaigning for the protection of the natural environment and indigenous people of her native land, and only stopped fighting when she was assassinated during a campaign.

Caceres fought for the protection of the natural environment in a country and a region plagued with corruption and impunity among politicians and big business, especially resource companies whose projects threatened the land she worked to protect. International organisation Global Witness once declared Honduras the most dangerous country in the world for protecting forests and rivers.

Caceres knew she faced enormous obstacles and danger. She knew she faced corruption at the highest levels. She knew she faced multinational companies operating with impunity and enormous budgets. She was reminded of these obstacles on a regular basis, throughout her activism, when she received death threats.

She was once quoted as saying;

“…When they want to kill me…they will do it.”

During the lengthy campaign for the Gualcarque River, the Honduran military opened fire on the group of protesters, killing one member. More protesters would be killed. Still Caceres fought.

Courage is encapsulated in the famous quote from Harper Lee’s classic, To Kill A Mockingbird, when Atticus says to Jem;

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

Unfortunately for Caceres, and the land and the people she protected, the man with the gun in his hand had the backing of many powerful organisations. The company behind the proposed hydroelectric dam on the Gualcarque River, Desa, was eventually ruled to have organised the squad of seven men, yes seven, who carried out the hit on Caceres. A number of the hit squad had been trained by US Army special forces. Thus, it took seven armed men, some with specific military training, to silence one woman.

Caceres utilised her intelligence, her dedication and her courage to peacefully defend the natural environment. Not only did she fight, she often won. The Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras which she co-founded and led staged many grass roots campaigns to protect the environment, indigenous people and women, before the action for the Gualcarque River.

Berta Caceres knew she faced enormous obstacles and danger, but she fought anyway. That is courage.



Naive wildlife and mature cats.


Is Australia’s wildlife naive?

Is this why so many of them are falling victim to cats, both feral and domestic?

A recent post on an Australian house minding website would suggest this is true.

The post from a home owner in NSW describes the house as overlooking a nature reserve which includes “…naive wildlife…”. Residing in the house are two mature cats. Was this just a simple typo, or are Australia’s animals ‘naive’ as well as ‘native’. Maybe the ‘naive’ animals are the only ones left in the reserve because the cats have killed all of the ‘native’ animals.

Perhaps this is why cats are, still, the single most destructive introduced species in Australia. Have our native animals not learned to flee at the sight of a furry little feline? Do we need to train our native wildlife to identify, and escape from, cats. Well, clearly this is impossible, and clearly we can’t train cats not to kill wildlife, because cats are acting upon the natural instincts of any feline species – they are great hunters.

Therefore, if we can’t train the cats, we need to train the humans. We need to convince, or force, cat owners to keep the cats indoors, or in a cat run / fenced off area, all the time. Yes, all the time, because if cats are allowed to roam free, they will kill. Owners of cute, furry, loving, kind, sweet, deadly cats must take responsibility for the actions of their pets. If owners can’t prevent their cats from killing wildlife, they should not be allowed to own a cat.

If we think that we can keep, and breed, cats as well as protecting our native wildlife, then it is humans who are naive.


You’re so ugly I could eat you.


You’re so ugly, I want to sink my teeth into your mangled flesh,

suck out the juices that lie beneath your twisted, demented form

and devour the decadent pleasure that awaits within your decrepit deformity.

I know your sweetness lies within.

I know the goodness you promise, as good as any of your kin with perfect form and shining, flawless skin.

You’re ugly.

You’re good.

You’re healthy.

You’re delicious.

You’re wonderful, and I would eat you.


Taking a bag to the supermarket is not a ‘challenge’


Harden up Australia!

Stop complaining and stop claiming that taking your own reusable bags to the supermarket is a ‘challenge’.

This constant whinging on behalf of a significant number of everyday Aussies has just forced one of Australia’s big two supermarkets, Coles, to backflip on its decision to stop issuing plastic bags. Coles will now give customers these highly-destructive plastic bags to customers who demand them – completely free of charge, just weeks after the same company declared that it would stop giving out bags.


These bags will end up in landfill and/or the ocean and average Aussie citizens will continue to destroy the planet, all because it is too much of a ‘challenge’ to remember to bring their own bags.

This complaining, and the backflip, is symptomatic of a country which is dominated by ignorant loudmouths and has now become accustomed to its baseless complaints being acknowledged and acted upon.

This word ‘challenge’ was constantly used, by Coles and by Aussies, when the ban was publicised and when it first came into effect.

Climbing Mount Everest is a ‘challenge’. Being a single mother is a ‘challenge’. Living with a disability is a ‘challenge’. Surviving a war zone and fleeing your homeland is a ‘challenge’. Remembering your reusable bags is not a ‘challenge’.

The Coles PR team obviously leapt upon this term with great enthusiasm in a concerted effort to placate existing and future customers. The conveniently inoffensive and euphemistic word reassured lazy, disorganised, ignorant, Aussie whingers who were  lured back to the Coles checkout during the transition.

In that way, Coles continued to make a profit. Profit is why Coles exists. Coles is a business, and it exists to make money. Coles reversed the bag ban because a sufficiently large number of ‘sources of income’ complained about the ban. Many people will attack Coles, but ultimately, Coles is not obliged to remove plastic bags. Common sense and responsible corporate citizenship should force Coles to ‘ban the bag’ – but clearly common sense and responsible corporate citizenship do not make a profit.

Of course, this would not have happened, and this article would not have been written, if the Federal government, under Minister for Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, had implemented a nationwide ban on plastic bags. It hasn’t.

Ironically, an article in the Financial Review in May of this year ran with the headline,

“Coles new CEO Steven Cain isn’t afraid of change.”

Banning the bag was a change, and it clearly scared someone at Coles.

The responsibility lies with the average Aussie. To stop whinging about having to take a few bags to the shops, and, in turn, to put pressure on Coles, and other companies, to stop enabling destructive, everyday habits which have given Australia one of the largest per capita carbon footprints of any country on earth.

Harden up ‘Staya!

Images: http://www.worldatlas.com, http://www.coles.com.au

Journey of a Garden: Ben’s Been a Busy Boy.


Ben’s been busy lately. He rolled up his sleeves, got his hands dirty and dismantled the entire garden. Yes, all of the garden beds are gone, even his fortress.

Ben was dissatisfied with his lodgings, so he gave the order to pack up and leave. When Ben speaks, we obey. Ben was satisfied with the garden and the space afforded him to grow food and plants, but not with the house itself. He became increasingly frustrated with the noise from the main road, and the nearby construction, which permeated the paper thin walls of the fibro house, day after day after day.

He also kept asking, when is an engineer going to design silent gardening tools? Surely, he would argue, if Scientists can create computers which fit in our pockets, they can find a way to create silent gardening tools. I’m afraid I was at a loss to explain to him why this hasn’t occurred yet.

As a result of Ben’s decision, the back garden has been returned to a flat patch of grass.


The garden is at the back of a rental property on the south coast of New South Wales, about 2 hours south of Sydney, Australia. The soil is generally fertile in a region famous for dairy farming and viticulture, although the garden had been stripped of much of its nutrients when I moved in, courtesy of the previous tenant’s neglect and a dry winter. The garden attracts quite a lot of sun, during very warm summer months and even during colder winter months in what is typically a temperate climate. The area is also famous for beaches and surfing, which is great after a day of hard yakka in the garden.

Ben swiftly dismantled the garden beds and was able to place some of the remaining plants, such as the eggplant, into the compost bin, but eventually even this had to be emptied. Much of the remaining plant and organic waste found its way into the garden waste bin, while the nutrient rich soil was spread over the rest of the garden, to help the grass grow.

In his brilliance, Ben ordered the dismantling of the garden well in advance of his departure date so that the grass may have a chance to grow back. He is conscious of not upsetting the Ogres, also known in this part of the world as Real Estate Agents.

The compost bin is set to be housed by some friends, who have a very impressive composting system, while the worm farm will hopefully be donated to a fledgling community garden, in this suburb. Ben was most pleased with our efforts to procure a home for the busy and productive worm farm.


Ben has left a small legacy. The frangipani trees remain, and even though they look quite sickly now in winter, they should be in full bloom in spring. The same applies to the papaya tree. Unfortunately, Ben won’t get to enjoy any papaya fruit, but hopefully the next tenant will continue to care for the plant and appreciate the free fruit.

Where does Ben go next?

Who knows.