Lots of us rely on our caffeine habits to keep us going during the day. If you drink a lot of coffee, you might be worrying about how ethical your habit is. Where your coffee comes from, how it is packaged and shipped and how it’s grown all have an impact on the sustainability of your favourite drink.
- Avoid single serve cups. When you’re out and about, avoid buying takeaway coffee in a paper cup. These single serve cups with their plastic lids, create a huge amount of unnecessary waste. Instead, carry a reusable cup with you to have your coffee in instead. This is more environmentally friendly, and some coffee shops even offer a discount if you use your own cup. You can buy collapsible cups to take up less space in your bag. Single serve coffee pods at home are just as wasteful. Most of these pods can’t be recycled and end up in landfills. Instead, why not treat yourself to single origin coffee beans to brew beautiful coffee at home.
- Ditch single use filters. Lots of them are bleached with chlorine, and when they end up in landfills, the chemicals seep back out. If you must use filters you can only use once, look for ones that are chlorine free. If you can, switch to a reusable filter, like a metal one.
- Brew manually. Cheap auto drip machines are made with a lot of plastic and regularly break, creating more plastic waste. A manual brewer is sturdier, producing less waste and helps you make a routine out of making a cup of coffee.
- Do some research into the company you buy your coffee from. Where is the coffee grown? Are the growers paid fairly for the coffee? How is it produced? Do they use recyclable packaging? How are they counteracting their carbon footprint from delivery?
- Check packaging. Look for symbols that confirm you can recycle the packet when it’s empty, and check for organic and fair trade symbols. Only buy coffee that is trying to be as sustainable and ethical as possible.
- Buy coffee grown closer to you. Reduce how far your coffee travels by choosing coffee grown in a country closer to yours. It will still be flown to you, but the shorter distance help a little.
- Recycle your coffee grounds. If you have a compost heap, the coffee grounds can be added to it, as the nitrogen in the coffee is a great fertilizer for your plants. Coffee grounds can also be put directly around your flowerbeds, with orange peel, where it will then act as a natural deterrent to cats, ants and other unwanted pests. Cats don’t like the smell of coffee, and the nitrogen in the coffee puts off bugs too.
- Don’t use a coffee pot with a warming plate. The plates use a lot of energy, and actually make your coffee taste worse. Instead, invest in a thermal coffee pot to keep your coffee warm without over-brewing it, burning it, or needing to leave it on all day.