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Byron Shire
May 19, 2022

Coffee cup guilt

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Raphael Lee Cass, Byron Bay.

Being an ex-latte-sipping property developer from Bondi and now a retired latte-sipping resident of Byron, I sat down to read my last brilliant letter to the Echo editor while waiting for my latte and blueberry muffin. I was in a busy, fashionable café in Jonson Street. The coffee arrived in a paper cup with a plastic lid; the muffin in a paper bag. I asked the server for a proper china cup and a plate. We don’t have those I was told. I have heard this at several cafes and restaurants now, from high up the hill to down near the beach. A learned friend informed me that these cups are non-recyclable and are lined with plastic anyway. So to continue saving the world [all of my properties are made with bamboo, hemp fibres and lomandra thatching], I refuse to accept coffee in a ‘paper’ cup.

I have to stop writing now as I’m off to meet my crystal-mining mate [he’s ok – all his fracking equipment uses E10 petrol] for breakfast in Byron. I have to pack a picnic hamper with two china mugs, bamboo cutlery and two ceramic plates. It’ll probably be heavy so I’ll have to use my Mercedes with its pothole-detecting GPS.

But then, it’d be a lot easier if there was an electric train to take me into town.


We understand that northern rivers councils do in fact recycle coffee cups owing to some miraculous equipment they have that strips off the plastic lining but if you want to feel extra special you can now buy reusable takeaway cups at many cafes – and some will even offer you a free coffee with your purchase. – Ed

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  1. Back in the sixties my brother’s high school chemistry teacher once remarked to him: ” Hatfield, sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, and if wit were shit you would be constipated”. Yours is a great letter Raphael, but I do trust your comment on the electric tram was sarcastic.


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