"One day you're going to regret all these crazy colours and patterns". So said a truly regrettable ex a few years ago while looking through my wardrobe and finding not a single item in monochrome. If that day of regret is to come for me it will be in the far distant future, at the moment the goal is to get as much colour in my life as possible.
Coming from a family where my Nana famously despises black clothing to the point that she doesn’t own a single item of it and even my old school blokey Grandad wasn't to be found without his pale blue knit jersey and brown shorts year round, I think it's in my DNA to love colour. In fact, I first found out about (and fell in love with) Decent Packaging through the colourful hot cup range. Nothing sticks in the memory quite like a stack of hot magenta, cool navy and sunny yellow cups against an otherwise entirely black and white industrial interior. A quick scroll through Decent’s Instagram quickly revealed an even deeper love of colour than I had suspected. Not only that, but also limitlessly imaginative ways of using this colour cup range amongst the tagged posts. Running a French bakery? Here’s the iconic blue, white and red flag perfectly recreated in Red hot cups, White hot cups and Blue hot cups on top of the coffee machine. The branding for your business is all pale orange? No need to specially brand, here’s a Sherbert Orange hot cup in that exact colour with a sticker slapped on. It turns out there’s a world of options out there beyond the fluffy polystyrene cups that I used to leave teeth marks in as a kid (thankfully those days are long gone, much better for both my health and the health of our planet).
Is it strange to wax poetic about hot cups? Maybe it’s a result of catching a glimpse of this rainbow of cups every time I open the boot of my car and glance through samples, maybe it’s because I’ve developed an extra sense for noticing takeaway packaging a mile off, or is it because of my natural affinity for all things bright and wonderful? No matter what the reason, it’s safe to say I’m a fan.
I even have special memories and experiences attached to these cups. Seeing a Kakariki Green hot cup and an Au Naturel hot cup slowly break down in the home compost until they are humus that is then spread amongst veges the colour the cups originally began as is an experience that surely is pleasurable to more than just a dedicated green thumb. Raiding my samples stash for a friend’s Diwali celebration instead of them spending a small fortune buying plastic cups by the sleeve from the local party supply store, or tracking down a bunch of op shop cups and forever after owning 100 more cups than a family of 4 could ever need, and knowing they’ll end up contributing back to the strawberries, lemons and blueberries of their coloursakes after a stint in the bokashi bin might have legitimately been a career highlight.
Don’t get me wrong, my love of colour is not limited to just Decent Packaging hot cups. Some of my favourite colours of all might be the dusky green of my banged up but trusty thermos, what can only be described as the well loved scratchy silver of my faithful lunchbox, the greens of the abundant parsley and miners lettuce that I pick while walking the dog around Banks peninsula, and the flaky sky blue of my past-it but still functioning road bike. What I really love is sustainability operating in full Technicolor - as an unapologetic, unmissable part of our everyday lives. And if your everyday life, or those of your customers, involves takeaway coffee, don’t be afraid of colour. The chances someone is going to take a second look at a plain white cup and wonder where it came from are slim, but a bright red one? That’s your cafe’s colour, your signature, your brand - no mistaking where that cup came from. Not only that but this is no ordinary cup, it's made from plants, lined with plants and dressed up in water based ink. It’s no longer just a cup, it’s a walking statement promoting both a single cafe and support for a healthy future for our earth.
by Rebecca Harris