Why Reuse is Better than Compostables

Why Reuse is Better than Compostables

Posted by Huskee on 15th Jan 2024

When approaching coffee roasters, cafes, and coffee service venues of our industry about single-use vs. reuse, there are a couple of responses that we generally receive as to why they don't want to participate in a reuse system at the outset.

The two main reasons often given are:

  1. I already have compostable cups
  2. I sell my own branded cups (BYO)

So, let's talk about the advantages of a reuse system for the planet and the reasons why a reuse system should be implemented. After all, research shows that Reuse Always Wins.

First, let's be clear that both of the above options are better than the status quo (single-use plastic-lined cups and lids), and often indicate that the business is aware of the issue and trying to do something about it. The businesses should be commended for their efforts.

The subsequent conversation then needs to be delicate, to ensure that they don't feel that they have done something wrong, because they haven't. The reality is that there are simply better options that are more sustainable and beneficial; for both the planet and their business.

So let's highlight the benefits of a Reuse system like HuskeeSwap by digging into these two common practices of sustainability in the industry. The main difference is proactively integrating reuse into your service - as opposed to offering an option for customers and the onus remains on them.


By choosing to participate in a Reuse system like HuskeeSwap, coffee service venues can make a very meaningful impact on the environment. While compostable cups may seem like a sustainable option, they often require specific conditions to break down properly (even compostable cups do not break down in the anaerobic conditions of landfill) and therefore need to be in separate collections and transported to a facility that can process them. Many current certified compostable cups aren't even plastic-free, and paper cups are bad for your health.

The reality is that composting collection services and municipal compost facilities do not exist in most locations, or do not/are prevented from, accepting them. This results in these cups still contributing to waste and pollution. Single-use is still single-use, not matter the material being used. Importantly for business, this often means increasing your costs as a business as well. Did you know an average-trading cafe spends more than $20,000/year AU on just disposable coffee cups & lids? Why increase this cost, especially considering they are likely ending up in landfill (or worse, the environment) anyway?

As a cafe owner or individual, does this solution meet your expectations?


Similarly, selling branded reusable cups for customers to bring back is a great option and step in the right direction. It is important to consider however that it relies on individual behaviour and is only somewhat effective at reducing overall waste. How many of your customers say or mention that 'They forgot their cup' for example?

BYO should always be encouraged and accepted, but at scale it does create logistics challenges for cafes. Imagine stacking 50 or more customers' cups to fill on a counter. Another example: BYO doesn’t work well with pre-ordering and table QR code platforms (businesses have to wait for you to provide your cup - before making your order, negating the benefit and possibly causing confusion).

While many venues believe that washing reusable cups are more expensive due to staff time and water/electricity costs, this is simply not true. Contact us at to get a copy of our COGS Explainer where we debunk this assumption with a fellow B-Corp coffee roastery and leading environmental consultancy firm.

The good news? BYO options support reuse systems and can be offered in conjunction with Swap systems for more options for your customers! Huskee now has both the HuskeeRenew and HuskeeSteel ranges that are perfect for this, and are even brandable.


A good reuse system provides a convenient and easy-to-implement solution that benefits both the planet and the business. By offering a swap system, cafes and venues can eliminate the need for single-use cups altogether. Swap systems change the behaviour from the onus being on your customers to being a standard option as part of your daily coffee service. Businesses can be a driver of positive and meaningful behaviour change, while adding additional revenue for the business and saving costs.

The advantages of a reuse system are clear: it reduces waste and pollution, saves significant costs for businesses in the long run, is often a better user experience for customers than paper cups, and offers convenience for both businesses and customers. By adopting a reuse system like HuskeeSwap, cafes and coffee service venues can take a proactive step towards sustainability and showcase their commitment to making a positive impact on the planet.

Let's all Choose to Reuse and ditch the disposables.