By Abbey Cannan
A Noosa business is leading the charge in eliminating single-use takeaway coffee cups for good across the Noosa Shire.
Jensen Fine Brews and Chews is the first retro coffee van and catering business in Noosa serving memorable brews in reusable cups only.
Local owner and operator Jo Jensen started the business in mid-2022 with the goal to align her passion for local produce and food with sustainable living practices.
“I didn’t have any intention to lead the charge but it worked out that way,” Jo said.
“I think my awakening to environmental issues occurred when I was around 11. I actually saw a movie called Soylent Green and it was about a deteriorating world and it struck me so heavily. I’ve tried to reduce my footprint throughout my life.”
Jo has had a number of reincarnations throughout her career; spending time as a nurse, a musician and a body corporate manager.
“I decided to leave that role for something that aligned with my passions, and food is one of them, and the environment is the other,” she said.
“I certainly didn’t want to broach that industry without having plans in place to deal with waste and to run it in a way that sat well with my beliefs.
“I’m not in it to make a million dollars. I just want to do something that sits well with my ethics and, of course, pay the bills.”
Cyclist Jan Leverton, who stops to grab a coffee every week from Jo, said each cup has its own story.
“It’s just so good to see this happening. As far as I’m concerned, she’s a true environmental pioneer because no one else has gone out on a limb like her and done this for the environment,” Jan said.
The public’s response to her approach to sustainable operations was heart-warming, selling more than 100 coffees in just three hours at the Noosa Botanical Garden’s Music in the Gardens event on the weekend.
“I was expecting to actually come across a lot more customers that were cranky about it. I’ve probably lost at the most a dozen sales as a consequence,” Jo said.
“There’s no other option with me than reusables. There’s a line in the sand and I think if it became a feature of the Noosa region, then it could be a tourist attraction rather than a detrimental feature.
“Reduce, reuse, recycle or refuse. Bring some mindfulness about your consumption and the footprint you leave behind.”
Plastic Free Noosa program manager Peita Otterbach encouraged every person to grab their reusables every time they leave the house.
“A single-use takeaway coffee cup, depending on what it’s made from, can take up to 30 years to break down,” she said.
“You really only get about two to three minutes of enjoyment for that coffee. Reusables are the answer and it’s something that we’re really going to be pushing over the next 12 months.”
Peita said Jo should be an inspiration to everyone in the Noosa Shire.
“We are not aware of any other business in Noosa using reusables only and has the courage to do what Jo is doing,” she said.
“There was a really big push on reusables pre-Covid and unfortunately Covid has brought about some really bad habits.
“Sometimes you need to challenge that mindset and educate people that reusables are clean for you and the environment.”
Find Jensen Fine Brews and Chews once a month at the Noosa Botanical Gardens for their open day and on a regular basis at Parklands in the Maroochy Shire.
For more information visit Jo’s Instagram account: Jensen_fbc