5 Ways to Make Your Coffee Routine More Sustainable

Most of us enjoy at least one cup of coffee per day, but it can also have a significant impact on the environment and the farmers By choosing sustainable coffee, you can relish your daily cup while minimizing your carbon footprint. This blog post presents 5 simple steps to make your coffee routine more sustainable.

1. Opt for Fair Trade and Organic Coffee

A straightforward way to enhance the sustainability of your coffee routine is to select fair trade and organic coffee. Fairtrade coffee guarantees that farmers receive fair compensation for their labor and have access to safe working conditions. Organic coffee is cultivated without the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals, which can damage the environment and the health of farmers. Look for coffee with certifications from organizations Fair Trade International and the USDA Organic label.

2. Bring a Reusable Coffee Cup

Using a reusable coffee cup is one of the easiest methods to make your coffee routine more sustainable. Disposable coffee cups contribute significantly to landfill waste, with an estimated 16 billion cups discarded each year in the United States alone. Many cups that appear to be paper have a plastic coating on the inside to prevent sogginess, making them non-recyclable. By using a reusable cup, you can help decrease this waste and save money in the long run. Search for cups made from sustainable materials like bamboo or stainless steel, and ensure they are easy to clean and carry. Some coffee shops even offer discounts for customers who bring their own cups, benefiting both you and the environment.

3. Invest in a Reusable Coffee Filter or Recyclable Capsules

Another approach is to invest in a reusable coffee filter. Conventional paper filters are non-recyclable and can contribute to deforestation. Reusable filters, on the other hand, can be used repeatedly, reducing waste and saving you money in the long run. Look for filters made from sustainable materials like stainless steel or organic cotton, and ensure they fit your coffee maker properly. If you use capsules, check websites like Podback which provide details on which capsules can be recycled.

4. Compost Your Coffee Grounds

Instead of throwing away your used coffee grounds, consider composting them. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, which makes them a great addition to compost piles. They also help to balance the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio in the compost, which is important for the breakdown of organic matter. Composting your coffee grounds not only reduces waste but also creates a nutrient-rich soil amendment for your garden. Just make sure to avoid adding too many coffee grounds to your compost pile, as they can make the compost too acidic. Here are more uses for coffee grounds.

5. Support Coffee Farms with Sustainable Practices

One way to make your coffee routine more sustainable is to support coffee farms that prioritize sustainable practices. Look for certifications like Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, or USDA Organic on your coffee packaging. These certifications ensure that the coffee was grown and harvested using environmentally friendly and socially responsible methods. By supporting sustainable coffee farms, you are helping to protect the environment and support the livelihoods of coffee farmers and their communities.

By adopting these five simple steps, you can make your coffee routine more sustainable and environmentally friendly. From choosing fair trade and organic coffee to using reusable cups and filters, every small change can make a big difference in reducing the environmental impact of your daily coffee habit. So, let’s raise our cups to a greener and more ethical coffee experience.

Contact holly@theinspireandcreate.com to discuss more sustainability topics over a nice coffee!

5 Surprising Sustainability Facts About Coffee

Coffee production and consumption have a significant impact on the environment and the livelihoods of farmers. Here are some facts about coffee that you may not know:

  1. Coffee production requires a large amount of water: It is estimated that 140 litres of water are needed to grow, process, and produce a single cup of coffee. This high water usage puts a strain on water resources, especially in regions where water scarcity is a growing concern due to climate change.
  2. Coffee farming contributes to deforestation: Sun-grown coffee, which is more common than shade-grown coffee, contributes to soil nutrient depletion and deforestation.
  3. Coffee farmers often face labour exploitation and low wages: The complex coffee production process, from growing to distribution, can lead to labour exploitation and low wages for coffee farmers.
  4. Lab-grown coffee produced from cell cultures rather than coffee beans, could significantly reduce deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and water usage associated with traditional coffee production.
  5. Blockchain technology can help ensure ethical and sustainable practices in the coffee supply chain and can be used to track and trace the origin of materials, ensuring ethical and sustainable practices throughout the coffee supply chain.

By understanding these sustainability facts about coffee, we can make more informed choices about the coffee we consume and support a more sustainable future for the coffee industry.

References & Further Reading

  1. The majority of the reported, coffee berry quality and yield, Retrieved June 3, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9824350/#:~:text=The%20majority%20of%20the%20reported,coffee%20berry%20quality%20and%20yield.
  2. [Modern Slavery Statement 2021-22, Retrieved June 3, 2022, from https://www.costa.co.uk/docs/modern-slavery-statement-2021-22.pdf
  3. Starbucks 2021 Global Environmental and Social Impact Report, Retrieved June 3, 2022, from https://stories.starbucks.com/uploads/2022/04/Starbucks-2021-Global-Environmental-and-Social-Impact-Report-1.pdf
  4. Sustainable Brands Conference 2021, Retrieved June 3, 2022, from https://events.sustainablebrands.com/conferences/sb21/
  5. Consumer Awareness Won’t Save the World: We Need Businesses that Can Change People’s Habits for Good, Retrieved June 3, 2022, from https://sustainablebrands.com/read/behavior-change/consumer-awareness-won-t-save-the-world-we-need-businesses-that-can-change-people-s-habits-for-good
  6. Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee, Retrieved June 3, 2022, from https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/insights/rainforest-alliance-certified-coffee/
  7. Sustainability 15(8):6827, Retrieved June 3, 2022, from https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/15/8/6827
  8. Lab-grown coffee: the eco-friendly future of our favourite drink?, Retrieved June 3, 2022, from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/16/lab-grown-coffee-eco-friendly
  9. We love coffee. Are we willing to pay the price?, Retrieved June 3, 2022, from https://www.fairtrade.net/news/we-love-coffee-are-we-willing-to-pay-the-price
  10. The Coffee Supply Chain: How Does It Work?, Retrieved June 3, 2022, from https://hermanoscoffeeroasters.com/blogs/blog/the-coffee-supply-chain-how-does-it-work
  11. From a Literature Review to a Conceptual Framework for Sustainable Supply Chain Management, Retrieved June 3, 2022, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/223590572_From_a_Literature_Review_to_a_Conceptual_Framework_for_Sustainable_Supply_Chain_Management
  12. Bocken, N. M. P. & Allwood, J. M. (2012). Strategies to reduce the carbon footprint of consumer goods by influencing stakeholders. Journal of Cleaner Production, 35, 118-129.
  13. Water use in coffee: can it be sustainable and profitable?, Retrieved June 3, 2022, from https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/water-use-coffee-sustainable-profitable
  14. Alamsyah, A., Widiyanesti, S., Wulansari, P., Nurhazizah, E., Dewi, A. S., Rahadian, D., Ramadhani, D. P., Hakim, M. N., & Tyasamesi, P. (2023). Blockchain traceability model in the coffee industry. Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity, 9(1), 100008. Retrieved June 3, 2022, from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joitmc.2023.100008

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