When we first opened our doors to sell coffee beans 6 years back, we reused the plastic bags that held cartons of milk we bought from the supermarkets a day earlier. Over the years, we have resisted the urge to adopt what we consider as "unnecessary branding" that can result in more waste to our bins and landfills, eg. logo stickers for cups, customised bags for purchased items or printing of receipts on checkout. Thanks to our lovely friends and customers who have donated to us their excess and unused bags, we have managed to avoid thousands of packaging waste by reusing clean plastic and paper bags. Since day 1, we have always encouraged our customers to have their coffees in the shop rather than doing take-aways to help reduce that paper or plastic cup waste. We have been giving BYO discounts and encouraged our customers to adopt a tree (or start with a plant). These small actions have set the tone in how we have been running the business since the beginning - in a sustainable way that will leave as little footprint as possible.
Plastic straws have been ubiquitous in most of our daily lives and you would be amazed by the sheer number that are disposed off, many of which end up in our drains, canals and eventually the oceans. It was a 8 minute video of the excruciating pain suffered by a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck up its nostrils that really made us sit up and decide that we have to do something. During the past 2 months, we have been experimenting with a bunch of plastic straw alternatives with our coffees to understand their impact on taste and the perception of our customers towards them. We have conducted trials using both metal and bamboo straws with our iced coffees and obtained feedback from some regular customers to ensure that the coffee experience is not in any way compromised. In the process, we actually felt that the enjoyment levels of our coffees might even increase with the use of the metal straw! Unfortunately we had to drop the option of using bamboo due to the taste compromise even though it was a much better option in terms of being a product sourced directly from nature. With the positive and encouraging feedback, we implemented a system to ensure that the metal straws can be cleaned properly in the same way as our cups. Maintaining our hygiene standards is also utmost important for us as we consider the alternative straw options.
This weekend, we hope to do our part by actively replacing the plastic straws for all our ice coffees that are consumed in the shop with a metal straw alternative. As part of the change, our team will explain to you and seek your understanding to this change. For anyone who might not be comfortable with using the metal straws, we will still offer the plastic straws with your ice drinks but we do hope you might change your mind on your next visit. We estimate that we should be able to save a few hundreds of straws a month from this switch and prevent them from going into the landfills or worse, our oceans. Unfortunately for takeaway iced coffees, we will have to continue with the plastic straws unless you have your own or indicate otherwise. In the near future, we will start retailing the metal straws to further encourage others to contribute to this cause of reducing plastic waste. For those interested, stay tuned to our social media updates.
We have been blessed with a supportive community over the past 6 years who have made Nylon a part of their daily lives. We hope our love for the environment can be shared amongst more people. Calling out to our friends (One Man Coffee are also launching this initiative) from cafes and restaurants, join in this movement soon!