Consuming Coffee Consciously

Just about everyone loves coffee. It’s a simple life pleasure that many of us enjoy everyday. However, your coffee habit could be hurting the environment! Because it’s likely a daily habit, the impact of your decisions coffee-related decisions really add up. You have the power to make a difference in the environment by changing a few things about your coffee routine each morning!

Buy Fair Trade
Fair Trade is a high-standard certification that ensures that the workers throughout the harvesting process are paid and treated fairly. Additionally, Organizations such as TransFair and Rainforest Alliance include strict environmental standards in their criteria for certification. Look for the “fair trade” logo when purchasing coffee. (1)

Shade Grown Coffee
Coffee is traditionally grown and harvested in tropical, mountainous areas, but high demand for coffee has led to many people using “sun cultivation.” In this method, many forests are cleared to make room for fields of coffee, eliminating many plants and the biodiversity that comes with them. An environmentally friendly alternative is shade-grown coffee, which mimics how coffee is naturally grown (beneath trees). This provides a healthy habitat for plants and other species such as birds to thrive in. Coffee grown in this manner can be purchased at supermarkets in bags with “shade grown” written on them. (2)

Reusable K-Cups
With the invention of Keurigs, K-cups have become a convenient and cheap alternative to coffee shops. However, the K-cups you buy at the store are not recyclable or biodegradable. This is causing a lot of unnecessary waste in our environment. An environmentally friendly alternative is to use re-usable K-cups, which can be filled with coffee grounds, washed, and re-used. Not only is this environmentally friendly, but it is also much cheaper. (3)

Drink from a Mug
Usually, coffee purchased at coffee shops will produce waste due to the plastic of the lid. Additionally, many paper cups and sleeves end up in a landfill. Disposable cups you use at home pose the same sort of problem. Drinking from a mug will prevent the waste that happens when using a disposable cup. Better yet, invest in an insulated portable mug so your coffee will stay warm on your way to school or work! In fact, many coffee shops will often fill these for you if you ask them to, sometimes even at a lower price.

Click here for more environmentally-friendly coffee tips!