General Question

shaunabe's avatar

What the most environmentally responsible way to get your morning coffee?

Asked by shaunabe (95points) April 27th, 2009

- paper cup from your favorite cafe
– your own cup? Any specific recommendations?

Trying to do the green thing…unsuccessfully so far.

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11 Answers

dynamicduo's avatar

Well, the #1 most environmental way is to simply not consume coffee (shipping the beans from there to here and processing them produces a lot of emissions), but I’ll assume that’s not an option.

Reusing your own cup is certainly better than using a disposable one every day. Get whatever one suits your needs best. I have a tall mug here at work (I use it for water, but it could be used for coffee), but I would use a travel mug if I were getting my coffee from a cafe.

For further eco-friendliess, buy or make a coffee cozy, a reusable cup sleeve is better than even the recycled cardboard ones they offer. Plus you can get one with cool fabrics, versus the plain brown bleh logo cardboard.

crisw's avatar

In addition to the container, consider the source of the coffee. It doesn’t do much good to use a recycled cup if rain forests were cut down to grow the coffee. Buy shade-grown fair-trade coffee; that helps both the environment and the people where the coffee is grown.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Buy fair-trade coffee to ensure your money isn’t funding human suffering.
Buy a reusable cup.
Try to frequent your local coffee sellers (if any) instead of Starbucks. That has a more positive impact on your local community.

Ok maybe only one of those was a an environmental bit of advice but the others are good advice for other reasons.

helloimcat's avatar

cosign: @The_Compassionate_Heretic

all those things are really important. Perhaps consider making coffee at home so you can use your own beans that are more ethical? There’s groundwork coffee based out of LA that uses organic, single origin, and fair trade coffee. There also intelligentsia coffee from Chicago that pays 25% of the fair trade price to their farmers.

Macaulay's avatar

Assuming you’re taking the great advice from the former posts, I won’t mention the importance of fair-trade. However, here are some tips for around-the-house coffee brewing: use unbleached coffee filters (they costs less than bleached filters and will do you a world of good). We switched from unbleached coffee filters to a permanent coffee filter a few months ago. It looks like this:
Coffee grounds are also beneficial in compost piles, if you’re going green. While fair trade coffee may costs more, you’ll truly make a difference if you choose to buy it. “Fair trade certification works to ensure that farmers get a fair price for their crops and good conditions under which to work.”
Good luck and thanks a bunch.

Strauss's avatar

I would agree with everything said, and I would underline the composting idea by @Macaulay.
I’ve been composting for years, and just today, I added a layer of compost to my garden. I looks like rich, black topsoil you would buy at a nursery.

Zen's avatar

I boil a cup of water on the gas stove. Add the water to the Turkish Coffee grinds, add a teaspoon of sugar, and only rinse out the cup, as it isn’t really “dirty”.

Strauss's avatar

Adding to what’s been said about fair trade, composting,etc.: I usually boil water on the stove (others in the house also use it for things like oatmeal and tea) and drip it through a generic cone-type basket with a fine screen re-usable filter.

wildpotato's avatar

Get your coffee from my friends at BuyWell International. It’s fair-trade and really delicious coffee. Good espresso, too.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

I think reusing your own cup. But it you must use paper cups, please recycle.

josie's avatar

Ride my bike to Starbucks instead of driving, and sit and read the news on my iPad instead of the one printed on paper.
But wait!
If I ride my bike, I will need more calories which means I wil have to eat more plants and critters, and my iPad needs lots of bandwidth which means more electricity and radiation.
Never mind.

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