If there’s one thing we’ve become aware of in 2020, it’s that we need to take better care of the environment for it to take better care of us. The term ‘sustainability’ has become a popular term for many, and for good reason. Sustainable essentially means being able to do something forever with no negative repercussions. The way we are drinking coffee today is not sustainable like most industries, but unlike many industries, with coffee there are many simple ways we can change our coffee rituals to become more sustainable everyday. In this article, we have come up with really simple ways you can make your morning coffee sustainable this year.
Buy organic and Fairtrade
Unfortunately, coffee production is known to be one of the most unethical trades globally, with many coffee bean makers, pickers and producers being unfairly paid and treated for the work they are doing since coffee is in such high demand globally. Buying Fairtrade means that the coffee you are buying was produced in a fair and ethical manner, with the workers being paid a fair wage, being given proper working conditions, and not having to work ungodly hours. If that isn’t reason enough to switch, buying organic and Fairtrade coffee also also leads to a more sustainable environment, maintaining sustainable coffee farming practices for the future of our planet.
Use reusable coffee filters
The key to being sustainable is to waste less and make more sustainable choices in our consumption habits. That’s why our next tip involves using reusable coffee filters, simply because, when you throw away less the environment will thank you for it. We already throw away a significant amount yearly, so much so that it has been predicted that by 2050 we will produce 3.4 billion metric tons of waste globally. Although throwing away one or two coffee filters a week may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, if it’s something that can be avoided, then why not do it.
Switching to a metal or cloth coffee filter won’t make your coffee taste any less great, but will make your morning coffee guilt free, and considerably more sustainable, keeping you and the environment satisfied. It may seem like a small change, but if we all come together to make a community impact, saving the environment may just be within reach.
Talking of reusable, why not invest in a reusable coffee cup
Reusable coffee cups are designed to be used over and over without having to be thrown away. It was published that by 2025 coffee shop growth will see the UK using approximately 3.75 billion disposable cups per year, and with coffee chains failing to produce the recyclable cups we need, it’s up to us to be responsible allies needed for the environment.
Reusable cups aren’t only great for the environment, but they also look great and can keep your coffee warm for longer. Simply pop your favourite reusable coffee cup in your bag and take it out when you need it. Many coffee shops also offer discounts for customers who use their own cups, a great additional benefit to this sustainable tip. At Send a Cow we designed our own reusable coffee cup with KeepCup, and when you buy a gift from Send a Cow, you’re making a crucial donation to help families make their own solutions so they can grow a better future.
Dairy-free coffee pairings
Ordering or preparing your coffee with dairy-free milks is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and live in a more sustainable way. It has become clear that the single biggest way we can have an impact in living sustainably is through meat and dairy consumption. Dairy cows and their manure produce harmful greenhouse gases which are then emitted into the atmosphere and cause havoc on our climate. Switching to more environmentally friendly options such as dairy-free milks for our morning coffee is just one small change that can help greatly. And what’s more, there are tonnes of dairy-free milk options that taste just like the regular milk you’re used to, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice on taste.
Oat milk is said to be the most similar to dairy milk due to its creamy flavours, and many oat milks in coffee shops have even been formulated with barista properties so the oat milk froths up just like regular milk, and don’t worry, there will be no sign of curdling with these newly developed dairy-free milk blends.
Order a size you will drink
Walking into a coffee shop can be all too exciting for many. The myriad of choices from a grande iced frappuccino to flat whites to full-sized coffee buckets. Often the biggest and most exciting coffee is on display, ready and waiting for you to drink. Yet, once again you take a few sips of the sugar filled coffee and can’t drink any more if you tried. Sound familiar?
Although it is incredibly tempting to jump for the most exciting and large coffee you see, think about whether you can actually fathom to drink it, and if you think not, ask for a smaller size. It’s easy for barista’s to alter the size of your coffee simply with the amount of milk they add, so don’t feel embarrassed asking for a smaller size if it’s all you can drink. Making sure to drink everything in your cup is one small step in wasting less and enjoying more, and although it may feel that half a cup of coffee left in the cup won’t make a difference to the world, there are 400 billion cups of coffee consumed each year, so with this widespread mindset there will be more wasted coffee than you think.
We’re told to buy local for just about every amenity we purchase. When you choose to buy locally you are not only supporting the local economy and communities, but you are supporting local imports rather than the mass coffee imports we see from larger coffee chains. The coffee you buy from local coffee shops may also be better quality since it will be less travelled and they are likely to only buy and keep the coffee they know they need, so less wastage for everyone involved. It’s also easier for local coffee shops to implement things like eco-friendly coffee cups and ethically sourced coffee beans since the changes made are usually decided by a few dedicated people, rather than entire organisations trying to make global profits.
Use a reusable straw
If iced coffee is your drink of choice, make sure to take in not only a reusable cup, but a reusable straw too. In the UK in 2018, around 4.4 billion straws were thrown away, a staggering fact that is so shocking since this waste can be easily avoided. There are so many reusable straws now available on the market, at just a tiny price compared to the price of the environment. It’s a small change that everyone can take to save excess waste polluting our environment. Reusable straws are available in bamboo, metal and glass materials and can be washed so they can be used daily, and the more we don’t need straws, the less straws retailers will purchase since they will be an unnecessary cost to the business once and for all.