IT’S a family run business a few hundred yards from the sea, so it perhaps should be no surprise that environment should be at its heart.
But there’s something else stirring at the centre of the Butternut Squash Cafe in Portobello.
Because it has just been crowned Scotland’s first “Cup Conscious Cafe” where it rewards its customers for eco thinking.
Starting originally in Australia, the movement aims to cut throwaway cup waste by encouraging reusable cup use.
Each year around the world, 58 billion paper cups are thrown away, with 32 million trees and 100 billion litres of water used for their production.
Most throwaway cups also have a plastic liner, which can make recycling impossible.
Now the Markets for Change initiative has made it all the way to Porty.
The popular cafe just needed to make a commitment to allow customers to bring their own reusable cups when they buy their takeaway beverages.
It’s a step that looks likely to catch-on with more and more customers becoming environmentally aware – and keen to cash in on incentives.
While many of the large coffee chains now offer a reward for cup reuse, such as additional loyalty points or money off, smaller retailers have lower profit margins which makes this movement all the more sustainable.
This campaign raises awareness without a dedicated cost to the café, it’s all voluntary, but provides exposure and marketing via social media and an interactive map on the Cup Conscious Café website that they might simply not have been able to access before.
That gives “cup conscious” users and followers a chance to look up which businesses are participants in their areas.
Butternut Squash co-owner Keith Sturgeon said: “We are delighted to be Scotland’s first Cup Conscious Café and are offering a 20p discount to anyone using their own cup.”
The initiative seems to fit in with the local community way of life and awareness of what’s going on around them.
Cups Campaigner Mandy Meikle said: “Portobello is renowned for its green credentials, yet none of the cafés visited offered a reward, in part because so few people bring their own cup.
“So we are delighted that the Butternut Squash café has not only signed up but will introduce an incentive for cup reuse.”
Others are alos looking to get on board.
Amanda Caygill, owner of the Espy said; “This is a great campaign and as an incentive, from 8.30am till 12 midnight we will charge just £1.50 for a take away tea or coffee in a customer’s own cup.”
She also owns the Jaffle Joint in Portobello, and two other Edinburgh establishments and will introduce the scheme to all four in due course.
Mandy Haggith, co-ordinator of the Environmental Paper Network (EPN) said: “Billions of throwaway cups are used every year, then dumped, which is a pointless waste of resources.
“Paper cups in particular use more than 30 million trees.
“But ‘cup consciousness’ is growing and it is great to see the movement spreading to Scotland.”
She added: “More and more people recognise the destructiveness of throwaway cups, and want fast food and drink companies and politicians to make it easy for us always to drink our tea and coffee from reusable vessels.
“Our message is simple: no throwaway cups.”
EPN has produced a “cupifesto” calling on business leaders and politicians to stop encouraging a throwaway culture by ensuring all cups are reusable.
Other Portobello cafés are also interested in taking part in the scheme, with the Skylark on Portobello High Street signing up a few days later with other outlets poised to do the same.