In the Netherlands, we are absolute coffee fanatics, on average drinking 3 cups per day! But how sustainable is coffee consumption? How can we ensure that we consume coffee responsibly, both at home and at work? You will find it all below.
How harmful is a cup of coffee for the environment?
Our daily cup of coffee certainly has an impact on the environment. From growing the beans to transporting and roasting them, the process of a single cup of coffee results in approximately 36 grams of CO2 emissions. This may seem like a small amount, but since we drink coffee in mass, it leads to 800,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year in the Netherlands alone!
Although the transport of coffee beans contributes to the environmental impact, it is primarily coffee cultivation that has the greatest impact. Coffee cultivation requires large amounts of chemicals, water, and fertilizer, which are harmful to the environment. In addition, the expansion of coffee plantations worldwide leads to deforestation, which is also harmful to biodiversity and leads to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, workers on coffee plantations are often poorly paid and lack access to basic amenities such as clean drinking water and protective clothing.
Tips for a greener cup of coffee
We all love (almost) coffee. However, most coffee drinkers are not aware that the drink has a significant impact on the environment. Coffee is not produced in the Netherlands, so it travels a long way before it reaches our cup. Here are four tips to reduce your coffee footprint!
Custom coffee brewing
About half of the environmental impact of a cup of black coffee comes from the process of brewing coffee. So this tip is simple: don't make more coffee than you drink.
There are different ways to make coffee, such as filter coffee, pads, or cups. Making filter coffee is a good choice because it produces less waste from packaging. However, we often make too much coffee and throw away the rest. Pads and cups, on the other hand, make exactly the amount of coffee you need, but they do produce more waste. Many pads are now compostable and can also be put in the organic waste bin! There are also brands that have a collection system for cups so that they are recycled. As you can see, each method has its pros and cons. Fortunately, more and more coffee brands are saying goodbye to plastic packaging, and there are biodegradable cups and reusable filters on the market. Plenty of choices!
Sustainable coffee accessories
When we drink coffee with milk, we increase the environmental impact even further. For example, a latte has 14 times more climate impact than an espresso. Therefore, drink black coffee or switch to plant-based milk!
There are more ways to be sustainable than just drinking coffee without milk. Choose, among other things, for reusable accessories, such as bamboo stirrers or FSC® certified wood. Take a look at our range if you are looking for more sustainable coffee accessories.
Reuse coffee grounds
If you are looking for ways to produce less waste, reusing coffee grounds is an option. Use it, for example, for the plants in the office or at home. Coffee grounds contain nutrients that are good for plants, which also saves you money on buying plant food.
Have you ever thought of making a scrub with coffee grounds? Making your own coffee scrub is not only sustainable and cheap but also healthy. So if you enjoy a cup of coffee with a zero-waste mindset, consider reusing your coffee grounds for a scrub. You can go for a simple coffee scrub, where you only need coffee grounds, or for a moisturizing coffee scrub, mix natural oil (olive oil or argan oil) with coffee grounds. It gives a real boost to your skin!
Serve your coffee in sustainable cups!
Is drinking coffee from a reusable cup or mug more sustainable than from a paper disposable cup? That depends on the usage. Washing a cup and rinsing it with warm water costs energy, but throwing away a cup every time creates waste. If you drink from disposables cups at home or at work, try to use them as often as possible and rinse them with cold water if necessary.
Are you looking for sustainable (disposable) coffee cups for the workplace? At TakeAware, you'll find a wide range of coffee cups. We also offer a reusable coffee cup, perfect for the office!