Coffee & the environment

The environment is our collective responsibility.

We need to make sure we dispose of things properly (i.e. prescription drugs, oil, batteries, etc.). We need to make sure we use everything to its potential–don’t just throw that pair of shoes out because it’s out of style! Keep them, keep using them, they still work. We need to consider what we do now, that is wasteful or problematic, that we can slowly and eventually change — and this is where coffee comes in.

Coffee is a delightful habit, but it can also negatively impact the environment. Every little change adds up in our individual lives, and if each individual makes a few small changes, we can have a big impact. So what does that look like for the average caffeinated individual?

  • Reuse iced coffee plastic containers. I refill mine with iced coffee from home or turn them into my water container.
  • Bring your own mug or thermos to the coffee shop.
  • Decline the plastic drink stopper.
  • Re-purpose coffee grounds–compost, soaps, candles, etc.
  • Reuse and re-purpose coffee filters.
  • Forgo Keurig pods and use the reusable pod with your own coffee grounds.
  • Go into the coffee shop, don’t use the drive-thru.
  • Reuse coffee bags — upcycle. Sew them into purses or totes (or, give them to someone who can sew them into purses and totes 😉)
  • Reuse coffee cups — the cups are made for coffee, and sturdy, why not give them another go?
  • Reuse/re-purpose coffee cans — they are strong containers! If you have no need for them, find an art teacher, they can definitely use them!

These are just a few ideas and suggestions. If we all chose a couple of things to upcycle, re-use, re-purpose, imagine how much we could stop going to landfills. If we all stopped idling in our cars, imagine how much gas (and money) we’d saved, and how much cleaner our air could be. If we all shared our best practices, and implement just a few, we could change the course of history–and still enjoy our coffee, win-win y’all, win-win.

Real cups please…

Maybe it’s the Californian in me, one of the stereotypes I actually fall into, but I like coffee shops with real cups.

If I’m getting something to go, of course I will take that cardboard and plastic combination cup. But if I’m not, if I’m staying here to sip my coffee and enjoy my surroundings, I want a real cup.

I know some establishments, usually chain businesses, allow you to fill a thermos. That can get tricky as it’s usually their thermos that you have to bring in. Environment-wise though, I support the practice. I’ll buy your damn thermos. Whatever I can do to avoid the single-use cup.


Back to real cups.

I’m sure dishes are more labor-intensive. I know they require water to be washed, water that is becoming ever more precious. Nevertheless, in my heart, I feel passionately that real dishes are the more environmentally-sound option. The sight of coffee in an actual mug makes my heart swell, and my love for those serving it increase exponentially.

Environment aside, real cups feel cozier. I don’t just come for the coffee, I come for the feeling. I want a heavy mug in my hand. I want to feel the smooth warmth of a glass mug. It seems silly, maybe snobbish, but I have to admit it—I like real cups, and if you’re serving them, I like you more.


Blog at

Up ↑