#PlastcFreeJuly: Cafe going green at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

More than 1300 coffee bean bags will be diverted from landfill each year after Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Bakhita’s Cafe started ordering their beans by the tin-load.

CHANGE FOR THE BETTER: Caroline Harland, Ronnie Campbell, Steph Moors and Chloe Clarke prepare coffee for customers at Bahkita's Cafe. Photo: JENNIFER HOAR

CHANGE FOR THE BETTER: Caroline Harland, Ronnie Campbell, Steph Moors and Chloe Clarke prepare coffee for customers at Bahkita's Cafe. Photo: JENNIFER HOAR

Supplier Orange Roasting Co approached the zoo about the change earlier this year, offering to deliver the beans in nine kilogram tins instead of the usual one kilogram plastic-lined bag.

The offer just so happened to coincide with Plastic Free July.

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Chef Ronnie Campbell and zoo spokesperson Mandy Turner said it was a no-brainer to accept the offer, and further reduce the zoo’s plastic waste.

“We want to show that we are leading by example, and we think a lot of businesses need to take it on themselves and take more ownership,” Mrs Turner said.

“There’s a waterway right there,” Miss Campbell said, indicating Savannah Lake. “That drains into the Macquarie River.

“We want to make sure that if there is waste, it’s not going to take 500 years to break down.”

Until you look more closely at it, you don’t see there are lots of opportunities to make changes.

Bakhita's Cafe chef Ronnie Campbell

Miss Campbell has worked at the zoo for 17 years, the last 12 in the kitchen.

But it has only been in the last 18 months, since she joined the zoo’s green team, that she started researching ways to help the cafe become more sustainable.

They now supply customers with paper straws and bamboo cutlery, and have stopped providing sauces in squeeze-on packets, instead offering sauce in cardboard tubs.

They no longer stock pre-packaged pies and sausage rolls, instead serving them unwrapped or in a paper bag.

Pre-made sandwiches are no longer sold in plastic containers, but cardboard ones with a plastic window at the front.

“Until you look more closely at it, you don’t see there are lots of opportunities to make changes,” Miss Campbell said.

“These ones are good because they are in the public eye, they can see these changes.”

Bakhita’s Cafe has also shored up the sustainability of their seafood supply chain, Miss Campbell said.

But they’re far from finished.

“Palm oil,” she said. “That’s the next sustainability front for us.”