KeepCup co-founder Abigail Forsyth. Picture: Josie Hayden
KeepCup co-founder Abigail Forsyth. Picture: Josie Hayden

Why you should pay more for coffee

IT'S been 10 years since KeepCup, the original game changer in the reusable cup market, came on the scene.

But its co-founder Abigail Forsyth said we still had a long way to go with the overuse of single-use coffee cups.

To truly help overcome the problem, she said the government needed to step in - and this meant paying more for your coffee.

She's calling for legislation around charging extra for the use of a disposable cup.

"It's a risky proposition but I feel there are things government could do to encourage (the use of reusable cups)," she told

"It would be just enough to make you stop. Most people just resent paying it so you change your behaviour."

Ms Forsyth said coming from a cafe she understood the tight margins people made which made it difficult for cafes to offer a discount for people bringing reusable cups in.

The former lawyer started running Bluebag cafe with her brother before they expanded to six stores that are still running today.


KeepCup co-founder Abigail Forsyth. Picture: Josie Hayden
KeepCup co-founder Abigail Forsyth. Picture: Josie Hayden

Ironically they were one of the first to introduce disposable cups.

"We were one of the baddies," she said. "Over time we just saw the amount of packaging you go through and then this surge in disposable cups and packaged goods was terrible.

"I went down to Myer to try and buy a reusable cup so we could sell them in store and all they had was thermos's."

Ms Forsyth said all the options were too clunky and wouldn't fit in the coffee machine so they decided to make their own.

"I often tell the story that we wanted to locally manufacture it and we went to one guy who said, 'This is just a plastic cup, this is crazy'," she said.

"I was sort of a bit cut when he said it."

But Ms Forsyth set out to prove him wrong, calling everyone the cafes catered for, and before they even had a product to sell they had sold 10,000 cups to NAB and Energy Australia.

"Ten years ago we had to explain what it was for," she said. "In America someone asked if you put your disposable cup inside the cup."

Ms Forsyth said originally she planned to sell 150,000 a year in her garage so she could raise her children comfortably.

The company now has 100 staff in three countries and sells about 1 million KeepCups a year.

"We've always bit off more than we can chew and kept on chewing," she said.

"For the last decade it's been super exciting seeing someone walk down the street carrying a KeepCup … but 10 years in it's like, 'Oh my god, it's not enough, so much more has to be done.'

"How do we get the system to change in order to save the planet?

"We didn't realise the scale of the problem when we started. Even now it's hard to fathom."

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