Two Victoria residents are working to see less disposable cups in the trash.
Nancy Prevost and Caroline Thibault founded The Nulla Project, which offers reusable coffee cups that can be purchased for a $5 deposit and used at local java hot spots. People can keep the cup for up to 400 uses, exchange the cup for a new one or return it for the $5 deposit back.
“Both of us never use single-use items, so if we forget our cups we just don’t buy anything,” said Prevost. “I used to be a server, and was just so tired of seeing so many single-use items going in the trash. So last Christmas Caroline and I started talking about how there must be a solution.”
In a recent trash analysis report to the City of Victoria it was discovered that people in downtown Victoria throw out an average of 25,000 single-use items everyday, including 13,000 single-use cups.
Further analysis of the trash composition at the Hartland Landfill discovered that more than 60 per cent of trash is either recyclable or compostable, but not forwarded to other facilities.
In the United States and larger cities across Canada reusable cup services already exist, so Prevost and Thibault felt it would work well as a business in Victoria. They applied for an incubator project grant with Synergy Sustainability Institute and won in early 2019.
For the past year they’ve been developing the brand, researching the cups and reaching out to local businesses.
The cups are comprised of BPA-free polypropylene, a fully recyclable plastic, and manufactured in the United States.
“We looked at a lot of options; ceramic can break, bamboo is a heat conductor, glass shatters, so for now plastic is still the best option,” Prevost said. “But, knowing that this can be used 400 times and recycled at the end makes it part of the circular economy.”
The cups officially launched in Victoria in mid-November, and are slowly appearing at local businesses.
Currently the cups are available for purchase and exchange at the Zero Waste Emporium at 1728 Douglas St. and at 2% Jazz coffee shops at 1701 Douglas St. or 740 Hillside Ave. The Nulla Project cups will also be available at two more downtown locations as of next week.
Prevost and Thibault will also be part of the upcoming City of Victoria New Years Levée, where the theme is climate action.
For more information on the imitative visit thenullaproject.ca .