The Hut. A cafe working towards zero waste.
The Plastic Free Raglan team sat down for a cuppa with Emma, owner of The Hut which opened last December on Rangitahi Peninsula.
We have been stoked to have you and The Hut open in Raglan. What’s been your highlight of your journey so far? It’s been awesome connecting with the community who share similar values, working towards zero waste. I love the challenge of finding ways to reduce my waste as a hospitality business. There are many things we can do such as use local re-filleries to minimise packaging, support suppliers that allow you to BYO containers, and say no to single use items such as throw away cups. I am always looking for ways where I can improve
What’s been a challenge you’ve experienced? Gauging how much food to make and sell each day! Food waste is something I’ve become very mindful of. Not only for environmental reasons but also for how it effects the bottom line profit.
And why is food waste so important to you? It doesn’t seem right to send food or coffee grounds to landfill when it can be composted, and reused to grow more food. When I started this business I set myself the challenge to work towards zero waste, being mindful of inhouse processes and ways to reduce all waste streams.
The Hut was the 2nd café in our community to ban single use cups. You did it right from the very start and we are so proud of you! What percentage of customers don’t have a keep cup on them already? Are these customers more likely to sit for 5 mins? Or borrow an ugly mug? The % of people without a BYO cup of some description is very low. Suprisingly when I explain I don’t have throwaway cups, customers will either find a reusable cup from their car or are happy to borrow from our mug library. In other cases they don’t mind to stop, use our have-here cups and enjoy the views. It’s been great to see people embracing new habits and returning with keepcups next time.
We love to support and walk alongisde hospitality businesses in our community. But we do challenge businesses to BAN SINGLE USE CUPS. Often the response is the very real fear of losing customers by removing this option. So we are curious how many people have you had to turn away? I would say about 5% decide not to order. They are mostly people from out of town. When we have a conversation around the kaupapa here in Raglan and Rangitahi it sometimes leads to them realising they have time to sit and stay for a while with a real cup in hand.
Do you have any hot tips for cafe’s not yet taken the plunge to remove single use cups? Having options makes it easier. Offering have here cups, a borrow system and encouraging to BYO. And don’t get disgruntled if people come with a dirty cup. I’d much rather wash one then use a throwaway. I’m launching a cup loan system for regulars who want to takeaway. These are double walled, stainless steel cups with silicon lids. The idea is; customers will pay a fee to loan the cup, which is either refunded on return or replaced with a new cup next time they come for a coffee.
The Hut is surrounded by building sites on Rangitahi Peninsula. We think you’re a prime example of #tradieswhogiveashit What’s been your experience sharing a single use cup free cafe with all your tradie neighbours ? It has been great, smooth and surprising! So many tradies working in Rangitahi are local tradespeople who already support the environmental culture in Raglan. They all have their own cups, borrow and bring back ugly mugs, love eating our pies off real plates, sitting and having a chat.
What is next on your journey to zero waste that you’re seeking out solutions for? I would love to eliminate the tetra packaging our alternative milk comes in. I have swapped my bakeware out and use silicone muffin trays and baking sheets instead of single use baking paper. Any unavoidable foodwaste gets composted but it would be awesome to get a community compost happening on the peninsula in the future.
The Hut is located on Rangitahi Peninsula and open 8-2pm Monday-Friday. @the_hut_rangitahi
If you’d like more support for reducing waste in your business, or organistion. Get in contact with us email@example.com or pop into the Xtreme Zero Waste office. If you’d like to be a further advocate for the reusable kaupapa then tag us in your pics @plasticfreeraglan.nz We will always re-share.