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Member Spotlight - Drummer Boy Cafe

In Port Adelaide you'll find Plastic Free SA member business Drummer Boy Cafe, committed to good food, coffee & reducing their waste. We sat down with owners Libby & Michael to discuss what being a part of Plastic Free SA means to them.

When did you first learn about the damage plastics do to our environment?

Seeing the devastating images of turtles with plastic straws stuck in their noses and sea birds with a stomach full of plastic had a big impact on me, and a few years before we opened the cafe, Michael and I saw the impact of plastic pollution first hand when we worked at the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in Queensland. After that experience, and seeing the War On Waste series on TV, we knew we didn’t want to be a part of the problem. So since the very beginning of Drummer Boy we prioritised compostable packaging and encouraged reusables.

What prompted you to become a Plastic Free SA member?

We met Taryn (SA Coordinator) through a mutual friend and were interested about the program, particularly their focus on reusables. Taryn supplied us with a mug library starter kit, which has worked well for our regulars who forget to BYO. Also, we love the ‘topless mermaid’ poster!

What has been the easiest change for you to make?

Switching to reusable stainless steel straws for our dine in beverages was a super easy way to avoid disposable straws, plus the costs and waste involved. We sourced the straws from a local business and have been using them ever since. They’re super easy to clean, they look great in our drinks and we will continue to use them for years to come!

What has been the most challenging change to make? 

Dealing with packaging suppliers can be challenging due to shortages/delays. Also, our milk supplier was unwilling to use the old school reusable crates for delivery so we’d end up with lots of boxes. However, we do our best to utilise everything we can in creative ways. For example, all our alt. milk cartons are turned into coffee trays after use, so they all get a second life. We encourage customers to bring them back too!

Where do you see the industry headed when it comes to plastics & single-use waste? 

We're hopeful that single-use plastic packaging will become a thing of the past, and this is already happening through state bans. The bans on single-use plastics is a great start, especially for unmotivated businesses that wouldn’t have made the change otherwise. However, there’s always more that can be done in this space so we view the bans as a minimum and not the end goal.

Do you have any comments or tips to encourage other businesses owners along the waste reduction journey? 

Engage with your community and utilise the networks and initiatives in your local area - or start your own. We joined the Semaphore Compost Network which is a great service for local food businesses, helping us to divert organic waste from landfill and keep resources in circulation. 100% of our food waste goes to the Semaphore Compost Network or local hungry chickens, and our coffee grinds are also free to take home for mulch or body scrubs! Also, remember to keep learning and be open minded as there’s always things to improve on!

Drummer Boy have made some big changes since joining Plastic Free SA, including:

  • Implementing a mug library

  • Selling reusable coffee cups

  • Displaying educational posters

  • Using reusable metal straws for dine in

  • Reusing alt-milk cartons as coffee trays

  • Currently phasing out water bottles, PS coffee lids and PET container lids


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