A cup of sustainability in the heart of Darwin
Meet Plastic Free NT Champion and City of Darwin #RecyclingHero Aaron, owner and operator of the Crybaby Coffee Mobile Van parked at Nightcliff Beach Jetty Monday to Friday.
Aaron’s approach is as unique as the name of his coffee trailer, playfully questioning "aren't we all just crybabies until we have had our first cup of coffee?”
Aaron was Melbourne-based during the pandemic lock-down and dreamt up the Crybaby coffee trailer to rediscover the little things that would bring him joy. Moving north to Darwin and launching his eco-conscious venture from his custom-built teardrop camper trailer was the first step.
"When COVID-19 hit, it abruptly put an end to my PhD studies, but it also presented an unexpected opportunity to reassess my career path," shares Aaron.
“Having a Master's degree in Sustainable Development, naturally I was always going to seek out the most sustainable approach to coffee provision.”
“The challenge of running a take-away business lies in its dependence on single-use items. There is a certain disconnect between consumer demand and manufacturing ethics.”
If you’re wondering why are coffee cups a problem, it’s estimated that approximately 1.84 billion single-use coffee cups are used by Australians every year. Although they look like they are made of paper, disposable coffee cups are usually lined with plastic - which unfortunately means they are not recyclable.
Aaron became a member of Plastic Free NT and consequently has been celebrated as 1 of 5 Plastic Free Champions, meaning that as a business he has eliminated all of his key plastic items (straws, coffee cups & lids, takeaway containers & lids, food ware (cutlery, plates, cups etc), water bottles & bags).
Tracey Adamson of Plastic Free NT says, “Aaron is passionate about sustainability and behaviour change, creating new habits for customers and helping them see the positive impact that reusable coffee cups are making on the environment by avoiding single-use plastics.”
Aaron confirms, “I do what I can, and if a customer hasn’t brought their own cup, the alternative is that I pay more for a disposable cup that is made from an agricultural by-product, which is compostable and not lined with plastic, I think it’s worth it”.
Plastic Free NT has been able to assist businesses like Aaron’s eliminate single use plastics from their operations. They employ a Research Officer whose job it is to ensure their team and members are up to date on any new products and certifications, noting "there has been a rise in greenwashing within the packaging industry, which we've had to keep on top of.' Plastic Free NT programs seek to encourage behavioural change through simple means, such as getting consumers to bring their own cups to food vans like Crybaby Coffee. They are all about helping customers form new, greener habits that are better for our planet.
Plastic Free NT and Crybaby Coffee show a dedication towards sustainability which resonates with our city's ethos of preserving Darwin’s natural beauty. Aaron and Plastic Free NT’s vision aligns strongly with City of Darwin’s target to be recognised as a clean and environmentally responsible city. Crybaby Coffee is a business conducted with a conscience, proving that sustainable practices and successful entrepreneurship can harmoniously coexist.