With all the talk of single-use takeaway cups and wasteful coffee pod machines, drinking coffee is sometimes thought of as a wholly negative thing from an environmental perspective. However, the truth is that it is perfectly possible to drink coffee in a way that is eco-friendly and won’t harm the planet. From composting your beans to choosing better coffee brands, here are six great tips for making your coffee drinking habit a little more sustainable.


  1. Avoid single-serve coffee

One of the least eco-friendly and sustainable coffee drinking options is the pod and capsule systems that have become popular in modern kitchens. Many of these pods are very difficult to recycle, or in some cases not recyclable at all. Additionally, these machines are typically powered on throughout the day, which means that they are consuming energy all of the time, even if they only make one or two coffees a day.

Opt for a way of brewing that is better for the environment.

  1. Switch to a re-useable coffee cup

Another major issue that has plagued eco-friendly coffee drinking is the issue of single-use coffee cups. Once again, it is the case here that these cups cannot be recycled, so they’ll inevitably end up on a landfill. This is a shame because there are plenty of smarter options available that could be beneficial to the planet.

Of course, the best option here is to simply opt for a reusable coffee cup. Not only will these keep your coffee hot, but they can also be simply washed and then re-used the next time you want a coffee, with no unnecessary waste.

  1. Choose Fairtrade coffee beans

There are many excellent reasons to choose Fairtrade coffee beans when you are buying coffee from a shop. These beans come from farmers who are genuinely interested not only in improving their own quality of life but also in improving farming practices and quality of the coffee.

Making a more informed choice about the type of coffee beans you are buying is important. As practice improves, the environment benefits enormously. So, look out for the Fairtrade logo on the bags of coffee that you purchase, and consider spending a little more in order to make a better choice for the farmers and the planet.

  1. Select brands with sustainable packaging

It’s important not only to think about the farmers making your coffee beans but also about the packaging that these beans arrive in. Think about where your coffee bean packaging goes when you throw it out – if it’s plastic, it may be impossible to recycle.

Look for coffee packaging made of paper which can be easily recycled. There are also a growing number of producers who utilize biodegradable coffee bags, which can break down in as little as 90 days when composted properly.

  1. Consider changing how you brew

We’ve touched already on coffee pod and capsule machines, which are undoubtedly one of the worst ways to brew coffee from an environmental perspective. However, drip coffee machines will also utilize electricity to brew. These may seem convenient, but they use up a lot of power.

Consider switching to a cafetière or another form of coffee brewing that does not use electricity.

  1. Compost your coffee grounds

It’s also very important that you don’t simply put your coffee grounds in the garbage, just sending them away to landfill. Coffee grounds can be composted so this is definitely something that you can start doing if you aren’t currently. Coffee can even be used as fertilizer in small amounts so if you have a garden this is also something you can consider.

Ultimately, just finding a way to avoid the coffee grounds from going in the trash is the preferable option here.

Enjoy your coffee!

Mike James is a UK-based independent writer, aspiring chef and a big fan of homemade recipes. Published in numerous online and print publications, Mike specializes in business technologies for work… and tasty food for fun. Particularly, cheese. Loves the cheese.

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