Sustainability brewing at Muffin Break

Nick Hall

A new environmental initiative sees Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Muffin Break partner with coffee cup recycling program, Simply Cups to help win the war on waste.

Beginning in August, for every takeaway coffee or hot drink sold by Muffin Break, the bakery and coffee franchise will pay to have one cup recycled by Simply Cups, an Australian-first initiative.

The announcement furthers Muffin Break’s commitment to sustainability, aligning with the brand’s current partnership with Responsible Cafes, offering customers a 30c discount on their coffee when they present a ‘keep-cup’.

Natalie Brennan, Muffin Break general manager said the demand from consumers to move towards ethical and sustainable cafŽ practices had been brewing for some time.

“Although Australians have always been good at recycling, the realisation that a lot of what we think is being recycled ends up in landfill is not acceptable to us or our customers,” Brennan said.

“Over almost 30 years in business, our success has always been to listen to our customers and ensure what is important to them is also our priority.

For Muffin Break, the nation-wide store implementation will see the franchise’s 210 stores participate, with the aim of recycling 11 million cups.

Funding for the environmental initiative will be a joint venture between Muffin Break head office, participating franchisees and the cup manufacturers.

“It (the recycling) is a collaboration between our franchisees, head office and the manufacturer of the cups,” Brennan said.

“The fact that there is no profit in recycling (like coffee cups), means there is a bigger picture for corporates to take on this responsibility of coming up with solutions.”

Brennan said the environmental program was backed heavily by Muffin Break’s franchisee partners, who have responded well to the community-centric project.

“Our franchisees are all families working in their communities, so it’s important to them to minimise our waste as business owners and community members,” Brennan said.

“They are the drivers of this initiative for the brand to come up with more recycling/repurposing/re-using initiatives, and as a mother of 6-year-old twins, I have a responsibility to them (children) to educate them on this issue and ensure that we do everything we can to eliminate unnecessary waste.”

Coffee cup recycling projects have been widely adopted in recent times, with Inside Franchise Business reporting The Coffee Club would be rewarding customers who present a reusable cup, in addition to Planet Ark’s latest coffee ground recycling trial.

Each year, Australians use around one billion disposable coffee cups, with the majority of those ending up in landfill.

Most takeaway coffee cups are not easily recycled, due to the combination of paper and waterproof plastic, however Muffin Break’s partner, Simply Cups have been working to develop methods for recycling, reusing and repurposing the product.

“We are taking this responsibility very seriously to ensure that Muffin Break’s legacy is not tonnage of landfill,” Brennan said.