How Sustainable Is Your Daily Coffee, Really

Here at WholePeople we love coffee, we couldn’t get through the day without it.

But recently we were asked “how sustainable is your daily coffee?” and we decided to see whether our coffee could be better for the planet.

After all, in Colombia they’re building homes with coffee waste now so there has to be some room for improvement in our daily cup of Joe habit, right?


No More Single Use Cups

We don’t use single use cups very often but we confess, occasionally, we’ve folded and used one when we’ve forgotten our recyclable cups.

With over 16 billion cups thrown out each year, this isn’t sustainable. 

 Sustainable coffee

So, we’re now committed to always bringing our own cup or going without coffee completely.

The planet shouldn’t suffer for our oversight.


Always Buy Fair Trade And Shade Grown

We’ve always been good about buying fair trade coffee, we’re passionate believers in the idea that people should be able to earn a living when they put in a day’s work. 

However, we’ve only recently come across the idea of shade grown coffee.

That is coffee which is grown on bushes in the shade of forest trees, this helps to ensure that the natural habitat won’t be destroyed or cleared for other forms of farming. 

Though if you buy a coffee substitute like chicory coffee, the shade grown thing may not be practical. 


Use Reusable Coffee Pods

We don’t begrudge anyone a coffee maker, they produce much better coffee, on average than instant coffee.

But the problem with coffee makers is the waste that they generate

Reusable Coffee Pods

This can easily be cured by switching to a reusable coffee pod such as the stainless steel K-Cup.

Or eliminate coffee pods completely, there are now fully filterless coffee machines which you add the coffee to and they do all the hard work. 


Switch To A Non-Dairy Creamer

We like all things plant-based here but did you know that when you add milk to a coffee that you’ve just added 70% of the total carbon footprint?

And if you opt for a latte then you could be talking as much as 90% of the carbon footprint being found in the milk?

Yeah, seriously, milk is not good for the planet and there are lots of different non-dairy creamer options out there, so everyone should be able to find one they like.

We excel in this respect, because mainly, we drink our coffee black with no creamer at all – that has no carbon footprint! 


Get A French Press

A French Press is a low cost filter method for coffee that doesn’t require a single change of filter (because it’s a reusable filter built into the plunger). 

french press is sustainable

If you make most of your coffee with a French Press (or a bigger more expensive automated version) then you’re going to keep your waste to an absolute minimum.

If you compost your coffee grounds then you will have eliminated waste from your coffee routine entirely. (Give yourself a pat on the back for this because you’re awesome). 


Final Thoughts On Sustainable Coffee

We were surprised to learn that our coffee wasn’t quite as sustainable as we thought it was.

So, how sustainable is your coffee? 

We’ve got one final tip to cut down on the impact of your coffee drinking habit. Why not reduce your coffee consumption (just a cup or two a day) and replace it with a healthy glass of clean water?

You’ll feel less stressed and use less energy too.

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