Cafés across Upper Hutt will offer reusable takeaway cups as part of the CupCycling programme, inspired by success in the South Island.

Cake & Kitchen co-owner Richard Schouten was pleased with the launch, saying that the industry had an obligation towards sustainability.

“We have a responsibility. When you see a cup in the bin I have got to wear that."

Schouten originally approached the Upper Hutt City Council with the idea after seeing the success of the programme in Motueka. The Motueka system saw 60 cups a week diverted from landfill from one café when it first launched in August last year, a number which had reached 300 just three months later – an average of around 15,000 a year, from a single café. Cake & Kitchen uses about 800 cups a week, and Schouten is hoping that the initiative will reduce that number.

CupCycling works on a subscription-type basis. Customers can pay $10 for a cup, which they use and takeaway. They can then bring the cup back the next time they want a drink, to the original café or to another participating venue, where they can exchange their dirty cup for a new drink in a clean cup.

The launch of the system in Upper Hutt will see 11 business participate, with 50 cups each.