Pouring more than $250,000 into local conservation work

Want to know how to save money on your daily coffee, reduce waste and contribute to local conservation programs? Two cafes in Canberra have helped Greening Australia answer this question. Café Brindabella and Café Milieu have raised more than $250,000 to support Greening Australia revegetation projects while encouraging customers to reduce the use of take away cups.

Our long term supporter, Café Brindabella (located in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade building in Barton) introduced a simple yet effective idea back in 2005 – a 20c charge is placed on take-away cups to encourage customers to bring their own mugs. If they bring a reusable mug, they receive a 10c discount and the café donates a further 10c to Greening Australia.

Café owner Skye Palmer says that over 65 percent of customers now bring their own mug and the response has been very positive. Some of the Department’s workers have even got their hands dirty and planted native seedlings themselves at our community planting events. Ms Palmer is astounded more cafes don’t adopt the idea, because there’s been so much goodwill from customers. “We’re only a small business, but it shows every small business can make a difference”, says Skye.

Following Café Bindabella’s amazing example, Café Milieu (based in the Department of Environment Building in Parkes) came on board in 2012 choosing a donation box approach.

The money raised from both cafes has contributed to a range of projects, including the restoration of the Cotter Catchment area after severe bushfires in 2003, and the ‘Bridging the Gaps’ project which assists peri-urban landholders in the Canberra region to do environmental works on their properties.

So, next time you’re looking for a caffeine fix, head to one of these fantastic cafes – and remember to bring your own cup! Or, if you are a café wanting to get involved, please talk to us about supporting our local programs.