'The ripple effect has been amazing' - Motueka inspiring the rest of New Zealand with solutions to cut down on plastic bags, disposable coffee cups

The small town of Motueka is leading the way with environmental solutions with initiatives reducing the number of disposable coffee cups and plastic bags.

The town’s being proactive when it comes to recycling and caring for the environment. Source: Seven Sharp

Steph Fry started up Cupcycling, a coffee cup exchange programme, less than a year ago and it's already made a huge impact.

"One night over a few crazy wines, my husband who actually came up with this wonderful product said to me why don't we make Motueka disposable cup free? And I said oh yep, let's do this," she said.

"Ten months we're at and roughly here at Celcius, we've done around 8,000 and across Motueka just under 10,000 so roughly a thousand a month," she said.

Mrs Fry said the idea has inspired people around the country.

"We have had no end of contact from other regions around New Zealand, Titirangi, Cromwell, Victoria University in Wellington are looking at rolling out Cupcycling on campus, the ripple effect has been amazing."

Boomerang Bags are also available in Motueka, using fabric that is bound for the tip, to make replacements for plastic bags.

As the name suggests the thinking behind the Australian idea is that the bags get taken out and then return, though that doesn’t always work out.