Five Steps to a Sustainable Daily Coffee Routine

Woman holding coffee cup up from bed with peace sign
procaffeinate v. The tendency to not start anything until you’ve had a cup of coffee.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. According to the Coffee Association of Canada, 71% of Canadian adults had a cup of coffee yesterday.

It’s no surprise that Canadians love their coffee. A troubling statistic however, has been highlighted in a recent City of Vancouver report noting that 2.6 million disposable coffee cups are thrown into the trash every week. And that’s just in Vancouver.

The increase in coffee consumption in Canada and around the world poses a serious environmental threat, beyond our local landfills. The Climate Institute estimates that without strong action to reduce emissions, climate change and rising temperatures is projected to cut the global area suitable for growing coffee by as much as 50 per cent by 2050. The demand for coffee by that time will have also doubled.

Our daily coffee routines have ripple effects on families and the environment around the world. To help address these issues, we’ve put together:

Five Simple Steps to a Sustainable Daily Coffee Routine:

1. Buy Fairtrade Certified Organic Coffee

Starting at the source, Fairtrade and Organic Certified coffee production helps protect farmers, their families and the environment. Together, the certifications ensure that farmers receive a fair price for their sustainably grown coffee, premiums are provided to empower farmers to invest in their community’s future, and our watersheds are protected from harmful chemicals.

2. Brew coffee at home when you can

With 2.6M disposable coffee cups ending up in our city garbage bins every week, the collection of these and other waste costs Vancouver taxpayers $2.5M per year. Brewing coffee at home or the office helps ensure that the coffee you’re using fits all the social and environmental criteria you’re looking for, and – not to mention – will save you money.  

3. Be mindful of your brew method

There are so many different ways to brew coffee at home. Using a reusable filter for your Chemex or drip brewer, refillable or 100% compostable Ethical Bean Coffee pods for your Keurig, or a simple french press, will help reduce excess brewing waste. And don’t forget to compost your used grounds after brewing.

4. Return your coffee bags!

As of June 1, a new program has launched where 117 recycling depot locations in BC are now accepting “other flexible plastic” packaging which includes coffee bags, candy wrappers, chip bags, and many other types of packaging. Ethical Bean has been running a bag return program for years and this new Recycle BC project will allow customers to drop off their empty coffee bags directly at one of the participating depots in their local municipality.

5. Buy your coffee from Certified B Corporations

Certified B Corps are a global group of organizations redefining what success looks like in business, beyond the bottom line. In Ethical Bean’s case, not only will the coffee itself be more sustainable through it’s fair trade and organic supply chain, but the company as a whole is contributing to a cleaner environment through initiatives such as purchasing Bullfrog Power’s renewable energy, using compostable materials in our cafe, and running a carbon neutral operation.

We’re proud to show our commitment to the planet and excited to be recognized as a B Corp: Best for the Environment 2018 Honouree! See the full list of Best for the World organizations here.  

Let us know how you make your daily coffee routine more sustainable in the comments below!

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