Would you like to get lots of environmental and social impact for very little effort? Coffee is a great start. A very small effort yields a huge benefit to our environment and to coffee farming communities.
The human race drinks 1.6 BILLION cups of coffee a day. (I personally consume more than my fair share.) Worldwide, industrial coffee production accounts for more agricultural chemical pollution than any crop except cotton and tobacco. The industrial coffee industry clear-cuts rain forests, destroying whole ecosystems, to build “efficient” coffee plantations that require chemical herbicides and fertilizers … despite the fact that coffee trees grow naturally in the rainforest shade and require none of those chemicals to produce abundantly! So that cup of coffee comes with a large carbon footprint in addition to its chemical dependency
1. Choose Better Coffee
Choose varieties that are organic, shade-grown, and fair trade certified:
- organic, so that you know your coffee is not the result of a massive chemistry experiment
- shade-grown, so you know that forests were not clear-cut to make way for an unsustainable plantation, and because shade-grown coffee matures more slowly, better developing complex flavors
- fair trade certified, which pays the farmer a better price than international commodity markets offer (you don’t want a commodity anyway, you want a premium product).
Better coffee beans are more and more widely available and, if you can’t find them locally, we will happily connect you with our carefully selected group of sustainable, artisan roasters. You’ll get coffee that is “premium” in every sense of the word.
2. Stop Using K-cups
K-cups are NOT recyclable, even the brands that claim to be. We throw away over 10 BILLION K-cups a year. We could circle the globe in used K-cups every single month. John Sylvan, the K-cup’s inventor, regrets his creation!
3. Bring Your Own Mug
We throw away 58 BILLION disposable cups a year. I shudder to think of the mountain of cups I’ve personally trashed in my life. Paper coffee cups have a plastic coating inside and are not recyclable. Styrofoam takes centuries to decompose. Now I bring my own travel mug with me every day. Bonus: the travel mug keeps my coffee warm far longer than paper cups do. (I love the Contigo brand – totally leak-proof!)
In 3 easy steps, we can eliminate enormous chemical and carbon pollution, save some spectacular rain forests, keep plastic and styrofoam out of the environment, and feel really good about ourselves.
P.S. Check out the “Kill the Cup” university challenge.
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