Your cup of morning coffee might be the kick you need to start the day, but it could also be harming the environment. The way your beans are grown, packaged and prepared can either create trash and produce carbon emissions or be part of a sustainable system.
It might be time to seriously consider how you perform your morning coffee routine and ensure that it’s eco-friendly. Here are some easy ways to go green without sacrificing simplicity and convenience:
Buy Fair Trade
Not all coffee beans are grown equally, which is why it’s important to know where your coffee comes from. Commit to purchasing beans that have been Fair Trade Certified. To earn the seal, growers, processors and sellers must prove their goods meet a certain set of standards.
Fair Trade Certified food products are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and contain no chemical additives or preservatives. Fair Trade products are also good for the economy – those involved in the process receive fair wages, no children make the items, and some of the profits go to community betterment projects.
Buying Fair Trade coffee beans allows you, the consumer, to support a sustainable process that protects the environment and human lives.
You can find Fair Trade coffee at many grocery stores – just look for the official seal. You can also purchase it online, which might be a good move if you prefer unique flavors. Also consider buying Fair Trade when you go out for your morning coffee.
Some cafes serve certified coffee, so ask an employee or check out the shop’s website before heading inside.
Avoid Plastic Single-Serve Cups
While popping a single-serve plastic pod in a machine is an easy way to access your cup of joe, doing so is harmful for the environment. In 2013, people used enough K-Cups (for use in the Keurig machine) to circle around the Earth’s equator 10 and a half times!
Unfortunately, many of those plastic pods sit in landfills, unable to decompose. Some brands do produce recyclable cups. For example, 5 percent of Green Mountain cups can be reused, but that’s not enough.
While the industry sorts out more eco-friendly options, you should forgo your use of plastic cups. Go green by either using drip coffee makers or a French press, or by getting reusable cups.
You can buy refillable single-serve cups that look similar to filters in other coffee machines. They feature wire mesh and can be washed after use. Buy one for home or take one to work if your office has a machine. This way, you can also stick to drinking your Fair Trade coffee!
Grind Your Beans Manually
Grinding coffee beans right before you make your drink ensures a robust and full flavor. However, automatic or electric grinders use electricity. You can decrease your energy consumption and lower your electric bills by purchasing a manual grinder instead.
Companies make sophisticated hand-grinder models that will give you an even grind with minimal effort. If you’re worried about time (automatic can be faster), simply grind the beans before bed so they’re ready to go in the morning.