Our society is becoming more and more aware of what we consume, how we dispose of our fast-paced life essentials and how they are affecting the planet. From recycling to alternative choices – we‘re all working towards one very important goal – to reduce waste and to help our planet. As coffee is surely a daily companion to many of us, in fact, British Coffee Association states that it might be the most popular drink worldwide with around two billion cups consumed every day, it‘s important to consider the environmental impacts and their effects. So read on to learn a few easy steps you can make to show you care.
How brewing coffee at home can be the smart option for you and the planet
It‘s no secret that true coffee lovers cannot last a day without a cup of coffee, sometimes two or even three! If you are one of them and get your caffeine fix in a local café or take out, each time you create waste with a paper cup and a plastic lid, disposable spoon and one-time use sugar packets. And if your choice of drink is generally iced, like a Frappuccino or iced-tea, chances are they are served in a fully-plastic cup. Such a daily coffee routine is not ideal for the environment, and is rather costly, too.
As an alternative, you could invest in a home-use coffee maker and brew your coffee at home. Depending on your needs, such as the number of cups you usually have per day and drinks you generally prepare, you can choose from automatic, semi-automatic or capsular coffee machines that run on recyclable capsules. Make sure you choose an appliance that is the right fit for you and you’ll end up using it, as there’s not much worth from it just standing in your kitchen collecting dust. Owning a coffee machine not only gives you the pleasure of preparing your drink fresh, at the comfort of your home but also helps keep your wallet happy in the long run, as well as creates less packaging waste.
Improve your coffee take-out routine
If you cannot invest in a coffee machine yet, or drink coffee occasionally and prefer to get it at your local café, for convenience, social or any other reason, there are other smart choices you can make in your daily routine to make it less wasteful. Come prepared – bring your own reusable coffee mug and ask the barista to pour your coffee in a sustainable dish rather than a single-use cup. Reusable cups are especially important, since there’s no way to use recycled paper to make single-use cups, as strict restrictions apply to recycled paper pulp when it comes to direct contact with food or beverages, and recycled paper is not strong enough to hold hot liquids.
On top of helping the planet, a reusable cup can also become a fashionable accessory – they come in various colours and designs, so you can choose something that fits your style and personality the best or have a few to mix things up. And if that one time you forgot to take it with you and really needed an urgent caffeine fix – ask the barista to serve you the drink in a ceramics mug and sit down for a few minutes to enjoy it, or at least make sure you recycle the lid of your single-use cup, which is made of plastic, and unrecycled plastic takes hundreds of years to break down. Remember – the cup itself cannot be recycled, since it has a thin plastic lining on the inside.
Ideas for used coffee grounds – from beauty products to fertilizers
When preparing coffee at home we inevitably have a bunch of used coffee grounds to throw out, but it does not have to go to the bin straight away! There are a few ways you can utilize coffee grounds to your own benefit. Make an aromatic and rejuvenating coffee scrub for your body. Instead of buying such a thing, you will save some cash and avoid an additional plastic bottle or jar at your home. Coffee grounds are quite harsh on your skin, so you’ll have to mix it up with a body oil, or simply coconut butter or oil from your kitchen cabinet. You can add a drop of your favourite essential oil for additional aroma, or leave it as it is – smelling wonderfully of coffee. Not only it’s a great option to get rid of dead skin cells, but also quite awakening!
Coffee grounds are also very nutritious and could be a great plant food, so you can prepare a plant fertilizer. Coffee grounds are approximately 1.45% nitrogen and they also contain magnesium, calcium, potassium, and other minerals. Actually, fertilizing with coffee grounds is very easy – you can scratch it into the top couple inches of the soil, or just sprinkle the grounds on top and leave it. Used coffee grounds are actually nearly neutral in pH, so they won‘t disrupt the acidity of your soil. Apart from providing your garden soil with nutrients, you can keep the cats away, as they dislike the smell of coffee grounds and may avoid using your garden as a litter box.
No matter how small, but each little eco-friendly step you can include in your coffee ritual will help make a difference. Whether you decide to skip take away coffee for good and implement a coffee station in your own kitchen for home-brewing, or choose a reusable cup each time you go out to a local cafe, or simply give a second go for your used coffee grounds – it can lower waste and ensure our planet is cleaner while you enjoy your favourite drink.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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