• Gary Smith, CEO BioPak, and Merlo Coffee founder Dean Merlo.
    Gary Smith, CEO BioPak, and Merlo Coffee founder Dean Merlo.

Brisbane coffee company Merlo Coffee has teamed up with BioPak to become Queensland’s first coffee business to use environmentally-friendly cups and lids.

Merlo-owned cafes are now serving takeaway coffee in single-wall BioPak cups made from plant-based materials rather than crude oil. These cups are collected at in-store composting bins, along with food scraps, packaging, and coffee grounds, and turned into compost by recycling company NuGrow.

According to founder Dean Merlo, the switch will cut Merlo’s carbon emissions by 25 per cent, keep 9.4 tonnes of plastic out of landfill, and create 164 tonnes of compost each year. “In our 15 Merlo cafes across Queensland, we go through millions of takeaway cups every year – if you lined them up, they’d stretch from Brisbane to Byron Bay and back again,” he said.

“Now, thanks to companies like BioPak making eco-friendly materials, Merlo customers can keep their caffeine habit and do something good for the earth by dropping their cup in our collection bins.

“In just eight weeks, your coffee cup becomes healthy worm food.”

Gary Smith, CEO BioPak, says the move will help address the national waste crisis. "Along with a mountain of coffee cups, Australians dump more than eight-million tonnes of food and organic waste that could be composted,” he said. “Decomposing food releases methane, which is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, causing enormous damage to our environment.

“We are thrilled that Merlo is leading the way in Queensland by composting its cups and organic waste - I’m sure its coffee-loving customers will seize the chance to be part of this change.”

BioPak was recently recognised for its commitment to a circular economy, picking up a Medium Business Award at the 2018 Banksia Sustainability Awards, which are Australia’s longest-running and most prestigious awards for sustainability.

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