Do you always forget your keep-cup every time you head out to pick up your double shot cappuccino on your way to work? Do you want to reduce your throw-away cup usage easily? Say hello to One Good Cup, a reusable cup rental system created as an alternative to the billion or so disposable coffee cups Australians go through a year. We sit down with co-owner Henham Rous.
Hi Henham, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
I am originally a farm boy, I grew up on a farm in Western Victoria, surrounded by a large family. I have spent a lot of time in hospitality, both here and in London, and worked in some awesome places. One Good Cup combines three of my interests and passions, such as farming, hospitality, and sustainability, which helped contribute to this concept.
What exactly is One Good Cup?
We are Geelong and the Bellarine’s first locally based and focused re-usable cup service. It’s not just another cup, we look at it as more like a membership service. Our mission is to reduce unnecessary landfill. It is designed to make doing the right thing a lot easier, and fun. Most people like the idea of doing the right thing, and in this case, instead of having to remember your reusable cup and remember to clean it every time you use it, we have removed the barriers to make it easier and more efficient.
What gave you the idea to start up One Good Cup?
Well interestingly enough, my co-founders (Australian Primary Hemp) are involved in the hemp industry, where they use it in food-related products such as seed, oils, proteins powders and bars. From that, I then became interested in the hemp fibre element – which has almost unlimited uses such as clothes, medicine, bio-fuel, plastics, rope, cutlery, even construction (Hempcrete). We were then interested in doing something with the fibre side of hemp but have had a bit of difficulty as the industry and demand for Hemp Fibre hasn’t yet taken off. So, to begin with we wanted a proof of concept, hence the cup.
What are the cups made from?
They are made from Bamboo and corn fibre, with a small amount of resin – this is the first step. Eventually, we want to improve the cup in terms of construction and quality of it, but this is a great start. This ties into the initial interest in hemp, as if it takes off, we would eventually like to process and manufacture hemp products, but at the moment we are just researching it. The cups come together by milling the bamboo and corn fibre into a size that can then be put through a moulding machine, and a few other things before they are finalised. Our cups are also vegan-friendly, dishwasher safe,, but unfortunately not microwave safe.
Where can people purchase the cups from?
At the moment it is just through cafes – we are a Geelong based company and only focus on this region. We have some really great cafes on board, and the more times you can use the cup, the better. Through lots of research we found that Geelong is known for supporting small local businesses, and they are environmentally conscientious. We have also found that the café’s around here have been incredible, by giving us a chance to get to know the Geelong community and develop new relationships. You can find our full listing of what café’s stock us on our website.
How is it promoted?
Customers sign up for a FREE six month subscription – then hopefully by six months’ time we will have a better idea of the uptake and the service, and gain more feedback, to then be in the position to work out an annual charge – From our perspective we need a certain amount of people on board to make it worthwhile from a business point of view. At the moment we have an introductory offer, if you can go into a café stocking our cup, for $20 you can get a cup, a token, and a FREE coffee, then you can either return the cup or the token for your next coffee purchase. We’re hoping that through networking and word of mouth, we will be able to get the word out and get more people on board.
What is the concept?
Ideally, it is a backup system for when you forget your reusable cup, by giving you another option to help the environment, instead of using a single use throw away cup. Customers buy their first cup or a token, bring it into any participating café’s, then take it home and the next time they use it, they just hand it into the café and get a clean recycled one in return. It’s similar to a SodaStream concept, where you bring the empty cannister one back and get another one in return.
Can you talk us through the evolution of the business?
We started researching in November 2018, then by January we had decided where we wanted to go, and officially launched One Good Cup in May, after going into cafes around Geelong and getting them around the concept before we designed the process – this gave us the chance to learn what they needed. Eventually, we would like to get to the point of not having a physical token, making it more accurate with inventory control and membership functionality, and for customers to be able to have more than one cup at a time, with a subscription or deposit/ small fee to use more.
What message are you trying to get across by launching One Good Cup?
For us, it’s about making it easier and more convenient to do the right thing. Ultimately, we are trying to change habits, which can be hard, but not impossible, it just requires discipline, which is why we are trying to lower the barriers to help people move in the right direction. We understand that sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing, and often, when the choice is between doing the right thing or the convenient thing, people will choose the latter, so we have tried to make the right thing convenient. By doing this, we are aiming to benefit the customer, the cafés, and more importantly, the environment. This isn’t to play the blame game or take the moral high ground, our aim is to highlight the opportunity for change, and how it doesn’t have to be hard. The overall goal I’m trying to achieve is something improve upon, such fighting the war on waste, by reducing unnecessary landfill, and I have found that by being honest, transparent, not forcing it down people throat, it is becoming successful.
Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me, what can we expect to see next?
Hopefully, you will get to see a bit more of a broader network, making the cups even more convenient, and spanned across more cafes. Maybe even some form of an online membership platform. We have started off small, which gives us the chance to test and evolve as we go, and we will look to evolve the designs or concept as we go, depending on consumer demands. We’ll eventually branch out to a bigger scale, but we’d like to earn our stripes first and get established more, and then see what happens from there.
For more info, visit www.onegoodcup.com.au, follow @onegoodcupoz or email email@example.com to get involved!
Written by Chloe Cicero