PHOTO: Peonie's Cafe in Paris via Les Petits Frenchies
For most of us, coffee is an integral part of the day. Whether it’s a double espresso or a decaf latté that gets you going, it’s hard to imagine a day without coffee. But coffee really is so much more than just a drink. It’s a powerful global industry that influences millions of people and their environments every day throughout the supply chain. From harvesting and packaging, to the sale of coffee at your neighborhood café, there are so many opportunities to reflect and improve upon some of our less than admirable habits. Besides, as sustainable finance guru Alexis Assoignon explains, what's good for the planet tends to be good for you and also good for your wallet. So here we have it: 5 ways that you can be an environmentally-conscious coffee consumer.
The easiest way to reduce the environmental impact of your coffee run is to skip the paper cup. (Scary fact: 1 million disposable cups end up in landfills every minute). When possible, take the time to sit down and enjoy your drink from a mug. Not only is this super relaxing and frankly underrated, it removes the need for the plastic lid, stir stick, and cup warmer that all come with our paper to-go cup. And when time is just not on your side, get yourself a cute travel mug for those days when you’re in a rush.
The dairy industry is a highly polluting and resource-intensive industry. Besides its impact on animals, studies have show that milk production has a substantial footprint on air quality, water quality, and the health of soil and surrounding ecosystems. If black coffee isn’t your thing, opt for dairy-free options like almond milk instead.
PHOTO: Peonie's Cafe in Paris via Paris Bouge
Another great tip is to buy local. Not only does it help support your local economy and small business owners, it also supports a healthy environment. Big name brands mass produce coffee on a large scale, and their carbon footprint reflects that, not to mention the quality of their roasts. Local roasters have a much smaller output, thus producing less waste. Buying local also reduces some of the pollution involved with transportation.
Do your research. Look for coffee shops and brands that prioritize people and their environments. Certifications like Fair-Trade and Rainforest Alliance can help steer us towards companies that are socially and environmentally conscious. Avoid brands with harmful labor and environment laws.
Making coffee at home is a great way to save money and reduce waste. No need for all that disposable paper when you’re drinking out of your favorite mug! Invest in a good coffee or espresso machine, and do some research to find a home brew you love. Avoid machines that use disposable capsule filters, and if they do, look for capsules that can be composted. You’ll be amazed at how much time and money you’ll save by reducing your daily coffee shop visits.
So there you have it, 5 simple tips for improving our coffee habits. We want to know; have you come across any great eco-friendly cafés or brands where you live? What’s your go-to home brew? Let us know in the comments below!
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