Toronto and Warners Bay cafes now offer reusable silicone coffee cups that collapse for easy portability

COMPACT STORAGE: Stephen Dewar with Chelsea Low, at The Boulevarde Coffee Hub, with the new silicone coffee cups and metal straws.
COMPACT STORAGE: Stephen Dewar with Chelsea Low, at The Boulevarde Coffee Hub, with the new silicone coffee cups and metal straws.

CAFES in Toronto and Warners Bay are now offering re-usable silicone coffee cups that are collapsible.

It's the latest project in the lakeside towns aimed at reducing the waste caused by single-use plastic cups.

The project is an initiative of the Lake Macquarie Sustainable Neighbourhood Alliance.

Alliance secretary Stephen Dewar said the cups were available from the cafes for just $2.

Australians threw out 2.7 million single-use coffee cups every day, Mr Dewar said.

"This adds up to 1 billion coffee cups thrown out every year.

"Single-use coffee cups are not recyclable, and people are confused about this. They either end up in landfill or littering our streets, parks and waterways."

Mr Dewar said the re-usable silicone coffee cups would appeal to locals who were keen to make a difference.

"Our project will make it easier for people to join the thousands of other Lake Macquarie residents who are making the switch away from single-use plastics," he said.

Many locals had already started to make that switch by taking their own coffee cups, from home, to be filled at cafes, he said.

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The new silicone coffee cups will give coffee drinkers another option.

What makes the silicone cups interesting is that they are collapsible.

This means that when the cup is not in use it could be collapsed for easy storage in a handbag or even trouser pocket, Mr Dewar said.

"It's important now to encourage people to remember to wash and have the cup ready for their next coffee."

Mr Dewar said cafes had embraced the new cups.

"A lot of the cafes are even offering discounts [to people who present the cups for filling]," he said.

The soft silicone body of the cup is reinforced with a solid plastic panel in the mid section, and at the top of the cup.

The cups could be re-used "30 times or more", were heat-resistant, and suitable for use in microwave ovens and dishwashers, he said.

Cafes had also been provided with metal drinking straws, to replace the single-use plastic straws.

The project has been funded through a state government Community Litter Grant, which enables the coffee cups to be offered at a significantly subsidised price, Mr Dewar said.

It's the latest initiative aimed at helping Toronto to edge closer to becoming free of single-use plastics.

"We've also helped pretty much every business in Toronto to do away with single-use plastic bags," Mr Dewar said.

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