Coffee is one of the most traded commodities in the world. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that over 170 million bags of coffee have been produced in 2018 alone — almost 16 million more than the previous year. Despite being one of the main contributors to the country GDP, coffee is also one of the main causes of environmental distress. We consume so much coffee that several farming methods and chemicals have been developed to maximize its production – such as the use of pesticide and herbicides. This, together with the dozens of disposable cups coffee shop patrons throw out every day, is the perfect brew for environmental disaster.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to stop drinking the beverage. Here are some tips you can adapt to your daily coffee habits to make your coffee rounds more environment-friendly.
Use a Mug
Invest in a mug, a tumbler, or any other reusable container that you can bring with you on days when you anticipate a coffee run. There are plenty of unique and fun options to choose from various online shops and local stores, like this insulated tumbler from Hydro Flask. Buy one that’ll last you for a long time and won’t be too bulky to bring around.
Drop the Plastic Straw
Not only is plastic not biodegradable, but some of them are straight up unsafe for use. Some plastic straws, even ones that are labelled “BPA-free” (a type of chemical commonly found in plastics and resins), are still being made with materials that are potentially toxic. There are plenty of other safer and eco-friendlier alternatives such as biodegradable or paper straws, metal straws, and even edible straws. For instance, Bambu Home Sells some of the best organic straws in the country, and even won an eco-choice award back in 2015. It’s a far better option than plastic.
Choose Organic Coffee
No, “organic” isn’t just a fancy marketing term. The cultivation of organic coffee beans actually requires no synthetic fertilizers nor harmful pesticides. Plus, by supporting the traditional, more natural methods of growing coffee, you can prevent surrounding farming communities from breathing in harmful chemicals and consuming contaminated water. Fortunately, many brands are following suit. Pretty Me’s Lean n’Green Coffee boasts all natural and organic ingredients, which also help promote a cleaner way for you satisfy your caffeine fix. It even comes with additional ingredients like l-carnitine — helpful for those with weight loss goals. Of course, the best part is still that it doesn’t come at the expense of the environment.
Not only is manually brewing your coffee cheaper, but it’s also more eco-friendly. Though you may be used to your typical coffee makers, these machines are mostly created out of plastics (and other materials) that are designed to break eventually, leading you to replace it with a new one, which isn’t so economical either. On the other hand, manual brewing tools, like these non-bleached coffee filters by Hario, are guaranteed to last longer and even give you a deeper appreciation for coffee since the process is more in-depth. For optimum freshness, grind your coffee beans at home. Quality grinder should be made of steel, like a burr coffee grinder. If you love stronger coffee you should grind coffee beans right before you are ready to brew.
Just Drink Less
It’s hard to part with caffeine, especially when your body craves for it in the morning or late at night. A survey conducted by Reuters found that 64% of Americans over age 18 drink at least one cup of coffee a day — the highest it has ever been in half a decade. Of course, drinking coffee does have several health benefits, such as improved energy levels and liver protection. However, too much of it raises the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Remember, one less Starbucks coffee is also one less plastic waste that will end up in a landfill.