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Eliminating plastic straws, sweet wrappers and coffee cup lids

The Beach Co-operative’s mission is to engage with and eliminate single use plastics at all points of its supply chain

Photo of Nicola Jenkin
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The Beach Co-operative’s mission is to engage with single use plastics at all points of its supply chain to: remove it from the beach, refuse it when making purchases, work with brands and companies who want to reduce plastic, and encourage manufacturers to redesign plastic packaging with a circular economy in mind.

Idea Title

Choose to RefuSA

Company / Organization Name

The Beach Co-operative


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Where are you / your team located?

Cape Town, South Africa

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

Our focus is two-fold: 1) to scale and run a consumer campaign with the hospitality and food service sector, based on a pilot using materials from Plastic Free July to educate consumers on single use plastic and why they should refuse it. 2) to train staff in these sectors to understand why there is a need to reduce or eliminate single use plastic and how to engage with customers to do so too. The hierarchy pyramids attached are examples of training materials we've developed for this purpose.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Case 3 - straws and coffee cup lids

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

We have piloted one restaurant in Cape Town (July 2017) and are running a second end July 2017. We hope to expand this pilot to two other coastal cities - Port Elizabeth and Durban - before a national roll out.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

The coffee shop we are working with is part of a chain, and it is hoped that the other 200 stores will adopt a move to reduce single use plastic products as well. In addition, using our project network and relationship with WWF-SA we aim to identify funding to expand our initiative through workshops and a campaign with the food service and hospitality sectors and its customers throughout Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban to adopt 'Choose to RefuSA'.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Piloting: You have started to implement your solution as a whole with a first set of real users. You may have started to develop a business model for your idea, including identifying key customer segments, relevant partnerships, go-to-market strategy, and draft financials.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

Goals: 1. To scale up the pilot study to other hospitality and food establishments in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban. 3. To secure further funds to refine, expand and scale up the pilot. 4. Develop and implement the consumer campaign in a South African context. 5. Develop and implement the staff training materials and 'How to' guide Success: 1. Expand to at least one more coastal city 2. Growth from niche to mainstream through a funky campaign. 3. See habits change.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Aaniyah's local surf break is at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg. She and Charmaine Adams started a volunteer clean up in 2015 to 'give-back' to the ocean that provides them with so much joy. Since then it has evolved and The Beach Co-operative was established to not only eliminate single use plastic from where it ends up, but from where it comes from as well. This is how Aaniyah met Nicola who also shares a passion for the ocean and has worked with the packaging industry for many years.

Tell us about your work experience

Aaniyah coordinates The Beach Co-operative and worked for WWF Marine Programme . Nicola is a sustainability consultant and has worked with the packaging industry to reduce its environmental impact.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Partnership of interested parties
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Team (5)

Camila's profile

Role added on team:

"A project team member with ambitions to grow and scale this initiative country-wide. Camila has been involved in research on single-use plastics, and undertaking consumer and restaurant surveys. Camila has a super network which is helpful for our work."

Engel's profile

Role added on team:

"A project team member, who has been extensively involved in assisting with consumer and restaurant surveys for our initial round of research for the WWF-SA Green Trust project. Wendy is an environmental economist working with WWF-SA to nudge people to make decisions and take action that achieves tangible long-lasting positive environmental outcomes."

Nicola's profile
Aaniyah's profile

Role added on team:

"Project lead and Director of The Beach Co-operative. She has played a major role in initiating the pilot study and engagement with WWF-SA in undertaking the initial consumer research on single-use plastic in the food service and hospitality sector."

Ceinwen's profile

Role added on team:

"Member of the project team that will help implement the project to expand Choose to RefuSA. She has been instrumental in identifying and undertaking the current pilot studies and is part of The Beach Co-operative."

1 comment

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Hi Nicola!

Excited to see you joining this challenge. We noticed your post is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We'd love to have it be included in the challenge. You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your post by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top.

We're looking forward to seeing your contribution in this challenge.