A lot of coffee cups are used and thrown away every single year. It was estimated, that in 2006 alone 16 million disposable coffee cups were used in the U.S. Now add the amount of natural resources and waste used to manufacture the coffee cups and the environment impact is significant. So, why not try to lessen your impact on the planet and learn simple ways that you can make a difference one coffee cup at a time!
Please give a nice “green” welcome to my first guess blogger, Jakob.
For those of us who drink coffee regularly we order it on the go, chug it down in the midst of a high paced day at the office, or deem it the icing on the cake of a delightful Sunday morning breakfast.
At the same time, though, how often do we stop to reflect on how some of our coffee drinking habits impact the environment around us?
For example, there’s a big difference between buying organic vs non-organic and whether the brand is associated with fair trade. There are also numerous little practices we can take upon ourselves that will green the coffee drinking experience.
Here’s a quick low down on these issues and how to bring a more eco-friendly mindset to your world of coffee.
Organic vs non-organic:
First off, consider the difference between non-organic and organic. Non-organic products contain large traces of chemicals used for pesticides and fertilizers.
What usually ends up happening is these chemicals penetrate top soil and rain water carries them downward where they contaminate local aquifers.
Coffee certified organic won’t have any traces of these toxins or artificial additives making it a healthier choice, especially if you drink coffee day and night.
Another important eco-friendly tag is the one labeled “fair trade.” In brief, the fair trade stamp tells you the company or brand is part of a co-op that promotes sustainability as well as better working conditions for employees in the industry.
Supporting such products ensures higher environmental standards and that everyone involved in the production process has the skills and knowledge to compete in the global market.
Other green tips:
Now, knowing a little about organic and fair trade coffee is a great start to being a better coffee consumer. Nevertheless, there’s a host of other practical actions that will make the coffee drinking experience that much greener. Some include the following:
Reusable cups: In general this means glass and ceramic drinking vessels, though some hard plastics are also ok. Keep one at the office and a few at home and if you’re truly ambitious carry around a stainless steal alternative to reuse wherever you go.
Recyclable cups: This usually means paper but again, some plastics may be suitable. Otherwise, stay away from regular plastic and Styrofoam cups since nearly all such products are made with chemicals that leach into the food and drinks they contain.
Compost coffee grounds: After brewing your morning, afternoon, or evening cup don’t throw the grounds in the trash. Since they are completely biodegradable and hopefully organic, open up the back of your garage door and toss them in the compost or mulching pile where they will work wonders for the soil.
Use eco-friendly stirrers: Stop using plastic to stir the milk and sugar in your cup. Wood sticks are a good option because they are generally biodegradable but if you want to be completely eco-friendly just use a regular kitchen utensil which can be washed off with a little water.
Waste-free purchasing: Having already mentioned recycling and reusing regarding drinking coffee it’s important to put it in the context of purchasing. To avoid needless packaging waste, buy your coffee using a reusable container. It’s a practice that may be awkward at first but in time you’ll find yourself buying all kinds of things this way simply in order to cut down on waste.