Foodstory offers free brownies in exchange for old dishes

The Foodstory cafe in Aberdeen is offering a free baking tray to anyone who donates unused crockery.

The company is looking for cups, mugs, plates or bowls that people no longer use to supply its recently reopened zero waste cafe in old Aberdeen.

In exchange for 10 items, you’ll be rewarded with a Foodstory classic – a salted caramel brownie.

What kind of things does he need?

All types of bowls, cups, mugs or plates will be accepted – they do not need to be matching or new.

They just need to be clean and ready to go.

“Ideally, if someone has stacks of reusable coffee cups with lids, that would be ideal,” said Foodstory co-founder Sandy McKinnon.

“Take-out containers that aren’t plastic would also be great.

“But that would be in an ideal world and I understand those are things that people like to hang on to.

“Really, we’re just looking for anything we can use in the cafe to serve food and drink.”

Foodstory owners Lara Bishop and Sandy McKinnon are both passionate about reducing waste in their cafes where they can. Photo by Kath Flannery.

Why is Foodstory asking for donations?

Foodstory doesn’t need donations because it doesn’t want to spend the money on brand new dishes.

Instead, the idea behind the plan is to keep old and unused items from ending up in the landfill.

All donated items will be used at Foodstory’s recently reopened cafe in Old Aberdeen, which was previously called Foodstory Zero but has been renamed Foodstory Uni (as it is located on the University of Aberdeen campus).

Cafe Foodstory Uni at the University of Aberdeen
Foodstory Uni reopened this week after a long closure due to covid. Photo by Chris Sumner

The original name Zero comes from the cafe’s philosophy of producing zero waste, and although the name has changed, that philosophy remains.

“We only have one bin at the university cafe, which is a food waste bin that is collected once every two weeks,” Sandy said.

“We don’t have any sort of single-use packaging on site, other than the cartons that our alternative milks come in, and we’re trying to find a supplier to get them in glass bottles.”

Food Story Mugs
A selection of the cups that have been donated so far.

This means that when you buy a coffee it won’t come in a to-go cup and your lunch won’t be packed in a carton.

Instead, when you buy coffee to go and don’t have your own reusable cup, you’ll receive it in a real mug that you can take with you (and hopefully come back later).

Not the perfect business model…yet

Sandy says the cafe is losing sales due to its reluctance to use any type of disposable packaging.

“If they’re buying coffee to go, some people just don’t want to take it in a cup without a lid,” Sandy said.

Foodstory Uni Zero Waste Coffee
Cafe manager Abigail was happy to see cups and plates starting to arrive from locals cleaning out our cupboards.

“I can understand that and we’ve lost sales because of that, so it’s not the perfect business model.

“But we’re learning a lot from this model and customers are very open to change, especially since covid, and university students are always good at being early adopters.”

You can drop off all items at Foodstory’s main cafe on Thistle Street in Aberdeen or at Foodstory Uni in the Taylor Building at the University of Aberdeen. Your free brownie can be picked up at either location.

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