Frequently Asked Questions

As more and more regions across New Zealand choose to join THE REUSE REVOLUTION with CupCyclingTM , we recognised there are always going to be relevant questions we need to answer.

Where are the cups made?

For CupCycling, we use our very own New Zealand made IdealCup. Designed for a LIFETIME OF REUSE! 

What are the cups made out of?

Our New Zealand made IdealCup is made of just two materials, both of which are 100% BPA FREE, recyclable in some curbside recycling and BEST OF ALL, we can take them back and grind them down and make them in to NEW IDEALCUPS!  That's called Product Stewardship!

Before we chose our materials, we consulted Plastics New Zealand, the governing body for Plastics Manufacturing in New Zealand; to ensure we were using materials which were safe for our customers, could be recycled and ultimately, re-purposed at the end of their useful life.

The cup and lid are both 100% commercially dishwasher/sanitiser safe.  We have commercially washed thousands and thousands of IdealCups over the years, without any compromise to the integrity of the product.

  • The cup is manufactured from a polypropylene (#5 recyclable plastic) which has a talc filling (which makes the cup robust and virtually unbreakable, whilst ensuring it won't become soft and flimsy over time).

  • The IdealCup currently comes in ONE SIZE - a 12 oz/335 ml (large) t/a cup.  We have a larger, 16 oz cup being released in 2020

  • There are internal lines moulded in the current cup, for smaller, regular 8 oz drinks

  • The IdealCup is 100% barista-friendly - it fits perfectly under all espresso machine group heads - Baristas LOVE working with our cups!

  • Suitable for very high water temperatures, for the likes of tea and black coffee drink, with in-built ‘fins’ for comfort of hold – NO EXTRA SLEEVE OR BAND REQUIRED around our cups!

  • We've made our IdealCups from a non-toxic, BPA free material, which doesn't develop a stain, smell or any nasty taste over time.  And the best part about it... it will NEVER RUST!

  • We have a lot of tea drinkers praise our cups, as they love the fact they don't develop tannin build up or leave a stain or taste

  • 100% safe to use and very kiddie friendly
  • We choose not to use any nasty silicone in our IdealCup (some products use a silicone lid and/or band around the middle and for their lids). Silicone CANNOT be recycled, does not last for a lifetime and will end up in landfill!

  • We offer a lifetime guarantee on our cup (some conditions may apply)

Can the cups go in the Steriliser or Dishwasher?

Yes, the IdealCup™ is 100% dishwasher AND sterliser safe.

In fact it’s microwave and freezer safe too!  It can be washed repeatedly, for a lifetime, without compromising its integrity.

Why do you suggest using single use lids with the CupCycling Programme?

We did research and that research showed us that:

1. People didn’t necessarily want to share a lid. We know they are fit for reuse purpose and can safely be washed over and over for reuse however, there is a definite psychological barrier there for many and we LISTENED.

2. Other research showed, people do tend to lose lids. It’s just one of those things.So, we decided to mitigate this by REMOVING the reusable lid from the day to day model. We previously promoted cafes use a Compostable Lid, as this was the ‘best available single use option’ available in the market at the time.

We are always striving to find ‘better’ solutions and always maintained, as soon as a ‘better’ single use lid option because available, we would endorse and recommend it. And hey presto... introducing the Wood Pulp Evielid!

A home compostable, worm farm friendly, organic landfill friendly single use solution, which fits the IdealCup perfectly!

And with every CupCycling Kit, we give every cafe 10 COMPLIMENTARY Reusable Lids (and cafes can purchase more if required for a heavily discounted rate), which they can sell to those customers who may wish to buy and own a lid. There are always some who prefer to have their own lid and the reusable lids will ALWAYS BE AVAILABLE to cafes and customers; should they prefer this option.

What is the branding on the CupCycling cups?

The CupCycling programme celebrates and promotes Regional and Community identity.

It’s not about promoting individual cafe or coffee roaster brands.  Instead ALL cafes have the same regionally branded cups, which are shared across the community and can then integrate into our nationwide network.

We are super excited to see our vision of regional cups moving around the country – A Dunedin cup in Titirangi, a Motueka cup in Upper Hutt... celebrating each unique community whilst connecting us all as ONE NEW ZEALAND!

The CupCycling programme provides dual branded cups, which have the CupCycling logo on one side and the Regional or Community brand on the other side for example, a Zero Waste Group logo, a Community Board logo or a Council Logo.

The regional branding does vary from region to region; depending on the stakeholders who are involved.

The CupCycling Logo is ALWAYS printed on EVERY SINGLE CUP, as this is how cafes and customers know the cup is part of the nationwide CupCycling Network.

The CupCycling Programme logo is NOT AVAILABLE to dual brand with an individual COMMERCIAL business logo/ brand.

View some of our current Regional Brands  and our Tiaki Promise CupCycling Cups below. 

What’s included in The CupCycling Cafe Kit?

When you REGISTER for CupCycling, you will receive your FULL CAFE KIT, which comprises 50 regionally branded/CupCycling branded cups, plus a whole heap of other stuff, including In Store Marketing Material etc.

Click HERE to see the full Kit.

You will receive this KIT at no additional cost.

You can BOND each cup to your customers for $5. That’s 50 cups x $5 per cup = $250 immediate $$ for your business! We don’t take that money back, that’s yours to keep!

Is there an UPFRONT Cost to join?


Just ONE SIMPLE MONTHLY direct debit.

Jump on the Cost Calculator on this website to see just HOW MUCH YOU CAN SAVE when you choose CupCycling)!

What is the monthly membership cost?

Our monthly membership is the LOWEST of any Cup Swap System currently operating. At just $56 including gst per month it’s a low cost, extremely cost effective membership, allowing your cafe TO SAVE MONEY.

There are NO OTHER HIDDEN COSTS. No floating rates depending on your size or if you scale. No additional costs for extra materials required for your cups.

Just ONE SIMPLY MONTHLY direct debit.

Jump on the Cost Calculator on this website to see just HOW MUCH YOU CAN SAVE when you choose CupCycling)!

Is there a minimum sign up period?

There is NO SET MEMBERSHIP TERM, unless you have received subsidy towards your membership, in which case, you MUST STAY IN THE PROGRAMME for the full length of the subsidy period.  We request a one month notification of desire to exit the programme.

Do I have to have a dishwasher or steriliser to wash the cups?

Yes, it is COUNCIL REGULATION, you must be able to clean/sterlise the cups in a dishwasher and/or steriliser.

After I REGISTER, how long does it take before I will get my KIT and can start CupCycling?

Generally once we start engagement with a new region and community, it’s around 6 - 8 weeks before we can OFFICIALLY LAUNCH CupCycling.

We stay in regular contact with all REGISTERED cafes, to ensure you’re aware of timelines and can get ready for your CupCycling rollout!

Each cafe will receive their KIT the day before the official LAUNCH date.

What does this monthly membership cover?

There are a few business related and administrative items we have to cover, in order to provide our CupCycling Programme; ensuring we can offer a reliable and successful REUSE network.

Things are things like:

  • The cost of the cups and the kits we provide each cafe

  • The FREE replacement cups for cafes (If cups become too worn over time and just do not look the best, we will REPLACE THEM at NO CHARGE TO THE CAFE)!

  • Administration and ongoing development of the Data Collection System

  • Ongoing Social Media and PR

  • This is our commitment to ensure we offer a continued positive aesthetic for the REGIONAL CupCycling cups and also ensures integrity of our product in the market place.

  • Any RETURNED CUPS will be sent back to our manufacturer in Wellington, ground down and made in to NEW IDEALCUPS!! That’s our Product Stewardship promise!

Is there an Early Exit Fee?

Sometimes we're asked by cafes if we have any Early Exit Fees; as they're worried what will happen with CupCycling just doesn't work out at their cafe.

We DO NOT have any fixed Early Exit 'fees' as such.   We do ask however:

  • If you receive a subsidy towards your membership, you honour the term of the subsidy, e.g. if you receive a 2 month subsidy, you stay in the programme for 2 months.  If you receive 3 months, you stay for 3 months etc.
    • After completion of any subsidised period, we request one month's notice of your desire to exit
    • If there is no subsidy,we request one month's notice of desire to exit
  • At exit, you would return ALL cups you still have (as well as in-store Point of Sale/marketing material) to IdealCup; at your cost
  • Once we receive your cups back, we would invoice you for the number of cups you have bonded to customers, e.g. if you return 30 cups, you would receive an invoice for 20 cups (20 x $5 = $100 including gst) as you will have already bonded 30 cups and received $5 for each of those cups
  • If at a later date, a customer(s) returns to your cafe requesting a refund of their original $5 bond, you would need to provide them their $5 refund, contact IdealCup to arrange return of the cup and we would re-imburse you the $5 refund(s) you have paid any customer(s).

We feel this is a fair system to support for both parties.

What if I need more CupCycling cups?

You can purchase more CupCycling cups for $5 each including gst (Minimum 25 cups).

This does mean a small upfront cost to your business of $125 including gst and you will then BOND each cup for $5, making it a COST NEUTRAL expense.

What say over time, my cups start to look worn or damaged?

We’ve had cafes with CupCycling cups in circulation for 2 years and they’re still going strong.

If however, your cups start to look less than ideal, we will provide FREE replacement cups for your cafe.

This is our commitment to ensure we offer a continued positive aesthetic for the REGIONAL CupCycling cups and also ensures integrity of our product in the market place.

Any RETURNED CUPS will be sent back to our manufacturer in Wellington, ground down and made in to NEW IDEALCUPS!! That’s our Product Stewardship promise!

Do I have to get rid of single use cups altogether?

In a perfect world wouldn’t that be amazing! We know however, there are always constraints and valid reasons cafes can’t always eliminate single use cups altogether. Sustainability is a journey of small steps – it’s about doing what we can do, as we can do it... and by implementing CupCycling at your cafe, you’ll be contributing massively to the reduction of single use waste to landfill.

If you get to a point where you think you might be able to eliminate the single use cups altogether; then KUDOS... and we will support you to achieve this goal!

Can I still sell reusable cups alongside CupCycling?

Yes, of course. There are always customers who prefer to purchase and own their own cup. And your business can benefit from the sales of retailing reusable cups. (In fact, if you would like the VERY BEST reusable cups, with your own cafe branding on them, to sell at your cafe, get in touch with IdealCup and the team can hook you up).

And for all those other customers who want to be more sustainable but don’t necessarily want the responsibility of owning a cup, washing the cup and remembering the cup, you can offer them CupCycling! Win Win!

Can I sell the CupCycling cups to my customers?

No, the CupCycling cups are not to be sold as a retail item. They need to remain part of the network of CupCycling cups moving around NZ.

If you would like to have reusable cups for sale at your cafe, contact the peeps at IdealCup and they can hook you up with custom branded cups for you to sell. 

Is there an independent café owner people can talk to about the whole system, how its going, any hitches/tips etc?

Yes, our CupCycling Manager Richard used to own Cake & Kitchen Cafe in Upper Hutt and was a CupCycling Cafe Owner. Richard’s experience with CupCycling was so positive, when he sold his cafe, he asked if he could come and work for us. What better person to answer all your questions about CupCycling! Contact Richard at or 021 226 2655.

What is your Data Collection System and does my cafe have to Submit Data?

We have developed an awesome data collection system, so we can showcase the amazing diversion of single use cups from landfill that all our Participating CupCycling Cafes are collectively doing.

It’s really important to be able to report ACCURATE, FACTUAL DATA. We could just estimate the numbers and say we think the cafes have done ‘x’ however, we’re all about transparency and ensuring we operate a system which has integrity and provide facts. We walk the walk.

Each week (via email or text) you will receive a prompt to submit your cups diverted from landfill stats from the previous week. We then add those to our ‘live’ running counter of collective cups diverted from landfill stats across NZ.

We also use this data collection to report to those regional stakeholders who might provide us with subsidy for the cafes membership costs associated with the CupCycling Programme.

If we get subsidy towards your Monthly Membership fee, then we are required to report the data. If we do not get subsidy, then reporting the data is your choice. We ENCOURAGE ALL OUR CAFES to submit data regardless of subsidy; so we can really celebrate the amazing sustainable change all cafes are making across Aotearoa!

Is there any funding available towards membership fees?

One of the key attributes of our CupCycling™  programme is that we work hard behind the scenes, engaging with Local Councils, Local Boards and Community Groups in an effort to garner their buy-in, with a view to securing subsidy towards the membership costs of the CupCycling programme, for all the wonderful cafes in the region.

To date, we have successfully secured subsidy funding in most of the regions we have rolled out with CupCycling™ and cafes have enjoyed SUBSIDISED MEMBERSHIPS of between 2 and 4 months.

It's not a given we will get subsidy funding however, we have a persuasive argument as these groups are all eager to see a reduction of single use waste going to landfill and CupCycling™ is a simple, cost effective way they can support cafes and the community to make sustainable change and lead the change in their regions.