Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Daily Coffee Tip::Re-Use

There can potentially be a lot of waste surrounding coffee. There are coffee bags, cups, lids, creamer packaging filters and even used coffee itself. Its sort of staggering to think how much trash we create just to brew our morning coffee. Luckily, with a very little bit of effort, we can drastically reduce the amount of coffee waste that goes in the garbage can--it can even save us some cash!

  • The coffee bag is one of the worst culprits of the waste problem. Think about it, you're probably trashing upwards of 50 or more bags per year, that is a lot! Usually there is nothing wrong with the bag when you throw it away so why not keep it and re-use? Most stores sell bulk coffee now so you can take your old bag and refill. Some shops like TaZa Coffee and Creams even offer you a discount on your purchase when you bring your own bag!
  • When the earth dies, it will probably have choked on Starbucks cups; just take a look at how many paper cups they contribute to landfills every day! Go out to Target and pick up a few fun thermal mugs and refuse to use paper cups. You will often get a discount at your favorite cafe and you will have the comfort of knowing there is one less cup in the dump.
  • Gardens love coffee! Never throw your spent coffee grounds in the trash--you don't even need a compost heap to reap the benefits of spent coffee--just sprinkle it in the flower bed with your acid loving plants. If you don't have plants then start a little container full of grinds on your porch and offer it to that crazy neighbor with the jungle on the patio; you might make a new friend!
  • Getting spent coffee out of that wet paper filter is a messy hassle right? make sure to buy compostable filters such as hemp filters. There isn't a drastic price increase and you'll have better tasting coffee (most white paper filters are bleached and bleach is not very tasty).
  • Condiments are tricky, they always come in some sort of plastic container so the best thing to do is buy bulk containers when possible. Stay away from individual serving sugars or creamers to reduce the number of things you toss in the trash.
We could keep coffee to almost a zero-waste product but for the most part, we're lazy. The best way to fight laziness is to offer financial incentive. If you follow all the steps above you will save $50 to $60 per year on your coffee expenditures. Sure, that isn't a staggering amount of cash, but I guarantee if someone gave you a $50 bill you wouldn't turn it down; so go out there, save the environment and dream of what you'll do with all those extra dollars!

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