Fiona McIntyre’s ‘wee sustainable cafe’ is causing a stir in Ballyshannon for all the right reasons.
At Simply Green, you won’t find takeaway coffee cups, plastic lids or lunchboxes, because the focus is on reusing and recycling.
This cafe makes eco-cafe culture, well, simple for customers.
Fiona provides smart alternatives to disposable packaging and delicious locally-sourced food to put sustainability at the heart of everything.
Originally from Skerries in Dublin, Fiona returned to her father’s hometown of Ballyshannon and to her family farm with her son Max.
Fiona wanted Max to grow up in the countryside, eating locally sourced food and living sustainably.
Simply Green opened its doors in May 2019. The zero-waste and sustainable ethos is a success because of the supply chain Fiona has implemented – the cafe’s produce is supplied either by Fiona’s family White Hill Eco Farm or locally in the North West.
The coffee is fairtrade, ingredients are delivered without plastic and in cardboard boxes which are unloaded and returned for the next delivery.
Most importantly Simply Green doesn’t do single-use coffee cups (up to 200 million single-use coffee cups are thrown away every year in Ireland). Fiona asks that customers bring their own cup or use one from the cafe which has all been donated and upcycled. Simply Green offers plastic-free alternatives for takeaway food or customers are encouraged to bring their own lunch box!
“Committing to having no single-use cups was a risk, but when we let people know what we’re up to there has been such a positive reaction, either customers bring their own cup or sit in with us in the cafe,” Fiona said.
Once word got around about this unique cafe, the community has taken note and contributed in their own way.
Fiona said: “The Ballyshannon community has been so engaged with the cafe before we opened I went to all the local businesses to tell them about what Simple Green was trying to achieve and staff from a local charity shop even dropped in crockery and mugs to help out.
“We’ve had queues out the door because the amazing students of the local secondary school, staff from the banks, chemists and hair salons to name but a few arrive with their Tupperware and lunch boxes to collect their order! Again waste-free.
“The community has been so enthusiastic about the zero-waste element of our business.”
Simply Green is closed for a short break this week, and will reopen on 2nd March 2020.
The next time you’re heading out for a coffee or lunch in Ballyshannon, why not call into Donegal’s first zero-waste cafe – and make good use of that keep-cup!