Every morning starts the same. I wake up, drag myself to the coffee maker and groggily brew the first cup of the day. I love coffee. So when I started thinking about the impact that my ever-growing coffee habit has on the environment, I was shocked at some of my findings.
So, to help us all make a little wiser choices, I made a list of ways to make your guilty pleasure a little less guilty and a little more pleasurable.
I love convenience as much as the next person, but Keurigs are very detrimental to the environment. The plastic is non-recyclable and not reusable (read our blog about reuse and landfills). But don't give up your single cup brewer just yet -- there are a wide variety of reusable K-cups that don't require the use of a landfill post-brew. The K-cup I use allows me to load in whatever coffee I like and will brews the same way as a normal K-cup. (Just make sure that you grind your coffee on “drip” or “metal filter” to ensure that your grounds won’t leak through the K-cup.)
Know Where Your Coffee Comes From
It’s important to take a look at what kind of company you are buying your coffee from. We, at The Durham Originals, like to first look to B-Corps certified companies when it comes to sourcing just about anything, and coffee is no exception. B-Corps measures businesses in terms of the triple bottom line: people, planet, profit. In the case of coffee, B Corps certified coffee roasters tend to have more stringent requirements than traditional fair trade coffee to ensure that growers and company employees are treated well throughout the supply chain.
Larry’s Beans, in Raleigh, NC, has been B-Corp certified since 2011 and has an overall B Corps score of 113…that’s a whopping 48 points higher than the median score of 55! (Look up B-Corps certified companies near you here.) If you can't find a B-Corps certified coffee near you, the next best practice is to aim for a local shop that sources its coffee from organic growers.
Re-Think The To-Go Cup
Each morning, millions of people get their coffee in a single use cup and toss it after an average of ~ 20 minutes. Paper cups typically aren’t recyclable because the type of plastic used for the liner and coffee contamination. The lid isn't recyclable either!
Approximately 58 billion paper cups are thrown away each year. And those are just the cups that actually end up back in the landfill, not the ones that get lost in transit and swept away into our environment. To produce takeout cups it takes approximately 12 billion gallons of water and 20 million trees are cut down. So what can you do differently?
- Invest in a reusable to-go coffee mug…or just a regular coffee mug that you take with you to shops! Many shops offer a discount (such as Cocoa Cinnamon and Caffe Bellezza) when you bring your own reusable mug.
- Opt to dine in and get your coffee in a mug. You can also enjoy beautiful latté art when you choose to enjoy your drink at the shop. Most places also offer dine in options for iced drinks, so you never have to miss out on your favorites!
I love coffee. A lot. But with great coffee comes great responsibility -- it is our job to make sure that our guilty pleasures don’t negatively impact our Mother Earth.