If you know me, you know that I don’t function without coffee in the mornings, or the afternoons for that matter. However, what you probably don’t know is that I hardly purchase take out coffee. Although, not most people work in a coffee roastery. Because I do, I have become accustomed to drinking out of ceramic mugs 98% of the time.
With all that is going on environmentally now a-days, do you ever wonder what you can do to make your coffee habit more sustainable? I have scoured multiple sources to figure out the top ways that you (and I) can create an eco-friendly impact, and still indulge in your cup of joe!
1. Ditch the pods. I know that Keurig or other brands similar have taken off because of the simplicity in the product, but for a few years now I have been reading a lot of information about how these easy to use single pods are making a big impact on the environment. K-cups make up one third of all coffee sold. Originally when k-cups launched on the market they were classified as regular garbage, since then Keurig says that there has been “significant progress” towards their goal of creating a recyclable version of K-cups. In 2015 they made the change to create their pods out of polypropylene which is recyclable in most areas of North America. They aim to complete their mission to make all pods completely recyclable by the end of 2020.
So, what can you do in the meantime? Well if you’re a dedicated K-cup lover, you can purchase a reusable basket filter that fits right in your machine like the pods do! This option also allows you to use whatever coffee you favour.
2. Be prepared to spend more. Sustainable coffee usually comes with a price tag. Through with that price tag you get the assurance of an awesome product and you also get to know that the farmers are living within their means and being paid a fair and equal wage. Fair Trade / Organic coffee has been around for a while now, but the popularity is growing. What most people don’t know is that one does not necessarily mean the other. Ideally to have an optimum impact on the environment you want to read the labels carefully and purchase coffee that is labeled as both fair trade and organic.
Why is organic coffee important? Like any other organic product, it is free of sprays and chemicals. This is both important to you, the consumer, as well as the farmer. What you probably don’t know is that in order for the farmers to product organic coffee, they need to go through a series time-consuming procedures. Not only do they need to source out farm space in the shade to grow their coffee, the organic certification can also be very costly for farmers. Because of this you may actually see some organic coffees that lack certification.
Why is Fair Trade coffee important? Purchasing fairly traded coffee is an extra insurance that the farmer, and his family, are living within their means. When a roaster purchases a fairly traded green bean, they expect to may more for that bean, knowing that the additional funds are going directly to the farmer. In many circumstances the farmer will take a portion of this money to put back into the community and help with schools, water supply, community centres and more! Fairly traded coffee also allows the consumer to view the relationship with transparency. These relationships are often formed either with the supplier/farmer or with the roaster/farmer.
3. Bring your own reusable mug. We all love coffee on the go! But as I mentioned in my last blog post, if you’re in Nova Scotia we do not have facilities to compost our cups. The best way to lessen your impact, and still take your coffee on the road, is to get into the habit of bringing a reusable cup with you when you leave the house. This is a small, but simple step, that will have a big impact on our environment overtime.
4. Change your coffee filter. If you’re using paper, the obvious thing to do is compost your filter and your grounds. However, did you know that most coffee devices offer a reusable filter option? Most reusable filters are made up of surgical grade stainless steel, or 24K gold non reactive materials. Both of these options will provide you with a smooth clean cup, while you’re helping the environment!
5. Change your brew method. If you want to make an ultimate impact on the environment, you should be aiming to brew coffee with one of the following methods: aeropress, french press, moka pot or pour over. All of these options only require that you use your electricity to heat your water, unlike a standard coffee machine which is brewing on average 6 minutes a pot. Another tip about brewing methods is to make sure you have the exact amount of water. This will eliminate wastage!
6. Buy in bulk. Buying coffee in a 2kg is the equivalent of 4.4lbs. Most coffee locations sell their coffee by the pound but also in ¾ pound bags. To eliminate package waste, purchase in bulk. Besides the benefit of saving packaging, you’re also likely saving a bit of money!
So there ya have it folks! Six simple steps, that will not only benefit the environment, but will also likely benefit you as well! Reach out and let us know if you decide to make any of these changes in your daily coffee routine.