Tips for Earth-Friendly Coffee Breaks
Whether you prefer your java in the morning, at noon or at night, small changes in our coffee routines can add up to a lot less waste and a healthier planet! Here are some easy steps you can take to make your next brew tasty, healthy, and earth-friendly.
- Invest in the perfect reusable mug and kick the disposable cup habit. Polystyrene isn’t biodegradable, and after just one use most cups will end up lingering in a landfill for centuries. Many coffee shops will also pour your brew in a ceramic mug if you request it.
- Support local brewers and cafes. Keeping your dollars local supports small businesses in your community.
- Resist the temptation to use individually packaged coffee shots, sugars, creamers, and throwaway stirrers. If your favorite coffee shop doesn’t offer alternatives, consider politely asking them to change their ways.
- Check for Fair Trade certification. Buying fair trade ensures safe working conditions and fair compensation for farm workers. Look for for the Fair Trade Certified label when you shop.
- Go organic and shade-grown. Certified Organic coffee is grown and processed without toxic chemicals, and shade-grown or bird-friendly coffees conserve forests on coffee plantations. Rainforest Alliance’s certification promotes sustainable farming practices like these.
- Be your own barista. If you’re in the market for a new coffee maker, try a French press or ceramic coffee dripper. Unlike most coffee makers, they don't require electricity, give a more "pure" taste, and are really easy to use.
- Give your coffee grounds a second life. Keep grounds handy in the kitchen to scrub grease off pots and pans or try placing them in the refrigerator to absorb odors. Used coffee grounds also make great plant fertilizer! Toss them in your compost heap or tumbler to add a natural nitrogen boost.
- Fight climate change. Coffee only grows in a very specific climate, so global warming poses a serious threat to your morning cup. Producers are already seeing lower yields around the world, sending up prices. Visit the Union of Concerned Scientists to learn about the coffee-climate connection and how you can take action.