Does the sound of starting your morning without a cup of coffee make you cringe? Well, trust that you are not alone. For many people, coffee is an indispensable ingredient in a successful and happy life. Unfortunately, as the western world’s appetite for coffee has only continued to grow, some of the practices surrounding these beloved roasted beans have become quite harmful to the environment. If you care about making ecologically sound choices but are still committed to your daily cup of joe—fear not, there are plenty of things you can do to make your coffee habit better for the environment. Here are a few suggestions.
Become a coffee nerd
By learning a bit about the coffee industry and some of its common practices, you’ll be in a much better position to make smart consumer choices. Did you know that there is now coffee roasting software? It is basically software that helps coffee roasters record, analyze, and control roast profiles, working to make decisions that produce better coffee and use the resources needed to do so more efficiently. The point being—the coffee industry is a lot more diverse than it used to be and you now have plenty of options to choose from. Pay attention to things like fairtrade and other ethical certification that tell you something about the type of coffee you’re buying and the methods that were used to produce it.
Get a reusable cup
This might seem like an obvious tip, but you’d be surprised by the staggering number of disposable coffee cups that end up in the trash every year. In fact, some estimates suggest that approximately 20 percent of landfill waste is comprised of disposal coffee cups. Don’t contribute to the problem! Get in the habit of bringing your own reusable cup with you everywhere you go. It’s a good thing to pack along with your lunch and will ensure that you have it at the ready if an unexpected coffee craving strikes.
Put those coffee grounds back in the ground
If you didn’t already know that coffee grounds make great fertilizer, then listen up! Washing coffee grounds down the sink is a total waste of something that could be providing valuable nutrients to the soil we use to grow plants and gardens. Boasting all sorts of minerals that plants need to thrive, including nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, composting coffee grounds will mean you’re giving back to the natural world around you every time you enjoy a cup.
Be very selective when it comes to coffee pods
Coffee pods have generated a lot of controversy in recent years—and with good reason. Despite the fact that these handy little capsules can provide a great tasting espresso at a moment’s notice, they’re also causing a whole lot of waste. Thankfully, some producers are smartening up and are making more sustainable and reusable pods. Do your research and decide whether or not using coffee pods is something you can incorporate into your new and more sustainable approach to coffee.