Using the BYO app—


–> What kind of cup should I be using?         

You can bring in any cup you have on hand as along as they (1) are clean and (2) have a wide mouth for easy pouring. Make it easy and safe for the cafe staff to serve your delicious, waste-free drink!




–> What if I want to purchase 2 drinks at a time with BYO?         

No problem! Just let the cafe staff know both drinks are with the BYO app. Scan the provided QR code twice, one after the other.




–> Help! I think the app isn’t working?          

Oh no! Contact us about the issue by emailing us at hello(@)letsbyo.com or DM us at www.instagram/byo.app



Tree planting—


–> Is tree planting really going to save us from climate change?         

No – tree planting is not a one-stop solution to climate change. In fact, nothing is. Complex, wicked problems like this climate crisis require a multitude of solutions where tree planting just is one of many. Reforestation efforts do play a part in carbon sequestration, but we’d also invite you to consider other ecological benefits such as supporting biodiversity and natural habitats, supporting soil structure, purifying water, etc.




–> Who will be planting the trees?

We will be working with Eden Reforestation Projects to plant the trees. Eden Reforestation focuses on poverty reduction through fair, local employment in communities in 8 different countries. The more cups you save with BYO, the more trees we will plant!



Bring Your Own Cup—


–> Why should I bring my own cup?

Bringing your own cup is an act of defiance against our current system of linear consumption.
From manufacturing to landfill, the disposable cup comes at a cost to our natural environment. Using your own cup can cut demand for these disposable cups and save on all the materials and energy associated. Resources saved include the trees to make the cup, the plastic to make the lining and lid, and the land and the oceans that act as the disposal site (where it can take 20-30 years for paper cups to decompose!). As they say, vote with your wallet or in this case vote with your choice of cup.

Need another reason to opt for personal reusables? The City of Vancouver will be implementing a $0.25 surcharge on disposable cups in January 2022. You can avoid this surcharge by bringing your own cup. To prepare for this next year, start building this habit today!




–> Is Bring-Your-Own-Cup allowed during the pandemic? Is it safe?

Health authorities in BC have not mandated a pause on customer personal reusables. The BCCDC have allowed stores to follow their own policies with regards to reusable cups (see more here).

In late June 2020, a global group of scientists (including epidemiologists, virologists, biologists, chemists and doctors) published a statement saying “reusable systems can be used safely by employing basic hygiene.” With caution and diligence, bring-your-own-cup is possible during a pandemic! Some practices we’ve seen cafe shops do include (1) provide the drink in an in-store cup and allow customers to transfer the drink into their personal mug at a table, (2) ask the customer to place their personal mug on the front counter and pour their drink directly in.




–> I always forget my cup! Do you have any tips?

Think of bring-your-own-cup as a habit to be built. Try to find opportunities in your everyday routine where you can remind yourself. For example, leave your cup in your bag if you know you’re going to buy coffee the next morning. If you regularly go for bubble tea runs with friends, make a group habit to remind each other to bring reusables.

In 2018, a City of Vancouver survey asked people how they manage to bring their own cup so regularly. Here are the main themes they found:

  • Finding a reusable travel mug that you really like, and always keeping it handy in a backpack or purse.
  • Keeping a few reusable cups in different places, such as at work, in your car, and/or in your bicycle pannier.
  • Plan ahead, and keep your reusable cup in a visible place so you remember to take it.
  • Make an effort to change your own behaviour, and when you forget your travel mug, choose to stay and enjoy your drink in a reusable cup in the shop.




–> Will the cafe staff be comfortable handling my cup?

We chose pilot partner cafes that we believe embody similar values as ours and we’ve taken steps to make sure that their protocols allow customers to bring their own cups and that their staff are also comfortable with such. That being said, bringing in a clean cup will streamline the bring-your-own-cup process and staff would appreciate this gesture!




–> Do you have any tips on cleaning travel cups?

Switching from disposable cups to personal reusables will require some cleaning. However, we do have some tips to make the process easier.

  • If possible, after you finish your drink while you’re still on the go, give it a quick rinse at a water fountain or at the washroom sink. This helps the cleaning process when you later get the chance to wash the cup with soap and water.
  • Clean the cup after each use. Once in a while you might want to do a deeper clean. Our favourite method: put baking soda into the cup, add some vinegar (warning: it will get fizzy!), and after the bubbles have subsided rinse the cup and lid with hot water.
  • Follow the cup’s manufacturer washing instructions.
  • If you decide to buy a new travel cup, try to find one with an easy to clean lid and mouth.
  • Remember that your reusable cup is your weapon against disposable culture — take good care of it!

Got more tips to share? Contact us – we’d love to hear it!



Why Reusables?—


–> Why reusables? Isn’t recycling cups good enough?

Only 9% of all plastic in this world has ever been recycled. Unfortunately, current recycling systems aren’t what they’re perceived to be. First, most materials, like paper and plastic in disposable cups, cannot be recycled infinitely as the quality degrades with each cycle. Recycling only delays the eventual disposal of items. Additionally, the hard-to-separate plastic lining inside paper cups means that cups are neither compostable or recyclable without going through a complicated separation process. We need to shift our emphasis from end-of-life handling to production/demand when thinking about waste reduction.

“The only way to reduce the amount of material we landfill or incinerate is to reduce the amount we produce in the first place.”
– Zink & Geyer, Material Recycling and the Myth of Landfill Diversion, 2019

Also check out this video:
Are Starbucks and Tim Hortons recycling? (CBC Marketplace)



–> Why reusables? Aren’t biodegradable/compostable cups good enough?

Unfortunately, these so-called biodegradable or compostable cups aren’t as eco as they claim to be. Compostable cups (paper or bio-plastic) are accepted by neither the green bin program nor the recycling program within the City of Vancouver, effectively counteracting the purpose of their compostability in the first place. No doubt is this both confusing and frustrating! This is why we advocate for reuse

Check out the City of Vancouver’s Waste Wizard for more info. Not in Vancouver? Click here for more info about composting programs in other Metro Vancouver municipalities.




–> Are you anti-disposable cups?

No. We acknowledge that bring-your-own-cup may not be possible for all folks or be suitable for all situations. We advocate that multiple solutions be used in waste reduction – including improving current recycling/composting systems and supporting cup sharing programs. At BYO specifically, we are advocating for reuse culture, making reuse practices more fun, accessible, and normalized.