If you are like me, you’re a coffee lover. As one of the world’s most popular drinks, many people are looking to still enjoy their favorite cup of coffee but without while reducing their environmental impact. Surprisingly, there are many simple ways you can make your coffee routine more eco-friendly.
So, what are some ways to make your coffee more eco-friendly?
1. Buy Local Coffee
Instead of buying from a brand that mass-produces their coffee and ships it across the country, which only contributes to CO2 emissions, buy from your local coffee roaster. This will reduce your carbon footprint and give you a chance to taste something locally produced and while supporting small businesses in your area. Some of the best coffee that I have ever tasted has been brewed right down the street!
2. Fair Trade Coffee
Buying “fair trade” coffee means that the coffee has been certified to be produced with a set of strict standards that encourage a sustainable environment and all individuals involved in the processing and production were compensated and treated fairly.
Look for coffee brands that have the “Fair Trade Certified” logo. This ensures that coffee farmers market their own harvests through direct long-term contracts with international buyers so they can maintain a stable family farming business and reinvest in a quality product while maintaining a sustainable community and environment. This also involves fair labor conditions for workers. Some of the best roasts in the world are brands that produce fair trade coffee.
Found a new brand of coffee you want to try? Do a little background research on the company and where they source their coffee. This will give you some more insight into whether or not they are the right eco-friendly brand for you.
3. Organic Coffee
You may be surprised to hear it, but conventional coffee is one of the most chemically treated foods in the world. Often grown with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, this also does damage to the local land and surrounding waterways that the coffee beans are grown in. Farmers are also exposed to these harsh chemicals while spraying and harvesting.
Organic coffee is coffee that is grown without any chemicals. No pesticides, no synthetic flavoring or chemicals added, just pure coffee, the way it should be. Coffee is grown with organic fertilizers such as compost. Fortunately, most coffee producers today pride themselves on producing organic coffee beans which only add to their amazing flavor profile. Look for coffee brands with the USDA Organic certification.
4. Avoid Big Brand Coffee
No need to name them specifically, but I’m sure you are well aware of these coffee chain companies. The ones which are located on nearly every street corner, shopping center, and restaurant. The brands that sell their coffee in giant tubs at the grocery store. You know them well.
If you are new to making your coffee more eco-friendly, this is probably the easiest place to start. These big corporations not only contribute to a large carbon footprint when producing their coffee, but they are linked to deforestation for the growing of their coffee beans. Local farmers are often exploited by these larger companies receiving little compensation and overworked, while big profits are turned by the gigantic coffee companies.
Some coffee big brand coffee chains have taken notice of the consumer’s need for a sustainable and eco-friendly product so they have made pledges to make their coffee ethically sourced. The jury is still out, however, you can give yourself a better guarantee by opting for organic and fair trade certified coffee.
5. Reusable Coffee Cup
If you are a religious coffee drinker, chances are you already have one. A reusable coffee cup or mug is an excellent way to reduce your waste. They function well in all situations, whether you are at home, on the go, or while at work.
Available from most online retailers, they come produced in a variety of eco-friendly materials including stainless steel, bamboo, and glass. You can easily find one that will suit your caffeine fix, whether it be drinking a hot coffee on a chilly morning or sipping on a refreshing iced coffee during a sweltering afternoon.
6. Reusable Filter
If you still plan on making drip coffee home in your coffee maker, reduce your waste by using a reusable coffee filter. Each time you brew up a pot of coffee, you need to add a pesky paper filter, which can’t be recycled but can be composted.
Cut down on your coffee waste and save some money by using a reusable coffee filter. Most are made from eco-friendly stainless steel and are dishwasher-safe. They are readily available in a number of sizes for all coffee makers, even coffee pod machines.
7. Compost Coffee Grounds
If you make coffee at home, you’ll know that when you have finished your brewing, you are left with a whole bunch of used up coffee grounds. No need to toss them into the trash, instead, you can compost them.
Composting is nature’s natural way of recycling. In short, it involves taking organic waste matter and redistributing back into the soil so it can naturally biodegrade and add nutrients back to the earth. Along with other organic foods in the kitchen, coffee grounds can easily be composted. Many municipalities have a compost collection bin but you can also start a composting in your own backyard.
8. Avoid Single-Use Coffee
Single-use coffee is one of the biggest culprits in the food and beverage industry for producing plastic waste. The waste that is produced from just one order of coffee at a coffee chain is incredible! The single-use cup is either made from paper or plastic, the lid is almost always plastic, the sleeve is cardboard, the straw is plastic and often wrapped in paper.
And then there are single-use coffee pods. I absolutely love the convenience they offer. A freshly machine brewed cup of coffee or espresso with little to no effort. Unfortunately, the pods contain plastic which may make them impossible to recycle. To fully recycle some coffee pods, the coffee grounds on the inside need to be scraped out, which is far from convenient. This is why most pods end up in the landfill. Fortunately, this excessive waste of plastic and paper can be all be avoided.
No need to avoid the convenience of large scale coffee chains altogether, however, you can opt to bring your reusable coffee cup and have it filled up or simply refuse the straw by saying “no straw, please”. I find it’s actually way faster to have my cup quickly filled up rather than waiting forever to have my drink specially prepared in a single-use cup. There are also other more creative ways than a machine to brew your coffee at home.
9. Brew Your Coffee Manually
Despite what many may think, brewing your own coffee is actually very simple with the right equipment. There are several different ways you can brew your coffee manually including pour-over, press, espresso, and percolated coffee.
Most of these items are a fraction of the cost of most machine coffee makers. They are also made from eco-friendly materials that will last a lifetime. Many find that their coffee tastes much better and they look forward to the enjoyable and methodical ritual of home brewing their coffee each and every day.
If there is one thing I cannot go without in life, it’s coffee! With over 12 billion pounds produced per year globally, there is definitely room for making it more environmentally friendly. With an eco-friendly mentality, you can start to make your daily coffee routine have a lower environmental impact. I hope you have been able to find at least one simple way to make your coffee routine more eco-friendly and I wish you an enjoyable and eco-friendly coffee experience!