Wellington Airport introduces reusable cup lending scheme

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New Zealand’s Wellington Airport has become the first airport in the country to introduce a reusable coffee cup lending scheme.

The airport has partnered with Wellington-based social enterprise Again Again to launch the lending scheme across selected cafes in the terminal. Passengers borrow an Again Again reusable stainless-steel cup with a silicone lid, adding a refundable NZ$3 (US$2) to their coffee purchase, and return the cup to participating outlets at the airport or other cafes in the Again Again network, for a full refund.

Passengers can also drop used cups into dedicated receptacles around the airport, donating the NZ$3 refund to native tree regeneration program ‘Trees that Count’. The cup is then put back into circulation.

Nicola Cordner, Wellington Airport’s manager of sustainability and environment, expects passengers to embrace the service. Cordner said, “This initiative is part of our transition toward eliminating unnecessary single-use items. We recognize airports aren’t the easiest places to bring a reusable cup as people have to plan in advance, remembering to wash and bring their cups each time.

“This scheme gives passengers the same benefits of a reusable cup with the added convenience of not having to bring their own from home.”

Again Again co-founder and director Nada Piatek is encouraging more airports around New Zealand to follow Wellington’s lead. “It’s a real benefit to have an airport in our network, as it helps close the reuse loop as residents and visitors travel to and from the city,” she said.

This initiative is part of a wider sustainability program recently launched by Wellington Airport which includes reducing the amount of waste entering landfill. The program has already resulted in over 30,000kg of passenger coffee grounds being recycled into premium compost by non-profit organization Zoo Doo and the airport is also working with its partners to eliminate single-use plastics and to compost organic waste.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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