Drinking coffee and saving the environment do not have to be mutually exclusive passions. In today’s go-go-go culture, convenience often tops both judgement and efficiency, giving caffeinated beverage drinkers more opportunities than not to contribute waste for the sake of time. Here are a few environmentally friendly — and wallet-friendly — tips for coffee lovers.
Invest in a reusable mug
While this may be an overused suggestion, it’s a common tip for a reason — reusable containers are a simple way to prevent a lot of waste. However, there are many more pros than not wasting a cup, sleeve and lid, of which only the sleeve and lid can be recycled. For those who love their coffee hot and not room temperature, reusable containers provide much more insulation for steaming beverages and allow you to enjoy your coffee hot for longer than 30 minutes. Being able to slowly sip on a continuously hot beverage often increases your enjoyment of it through longer studying sessions or even just a long, drawn-out, relaxed morning. In addition, it’s always fun to be able to pick out a cup with a design — or two, or three — to carry around with you and brighten your day. Many coffee shops also provide a discount to those who bring in reusable containers, such as the 10% discount offered by Caribou Coffee, which has a location in the main library on UGA’s campus.
Try reusable coffee filters
For both coffee machine users and pour over fanatics, this option is great for the environment and your wallet. Purchasing a reusable coffee filter will be more expensive than a pack of paper filters at first, but over time you will save a substantial amount of money. Permanent coffee filters made with gold — yes, gold — do not taint the taste of coffee like many paper filters do, as gold is a neutral substance. They also allow the transfer of beneficial antioxidants found in coffee grounds to pass through the filter and into the cup. Additionally, if you currently use bleached white coffee filters, you should consider switching to the non-bleached kind as they have been found to contain the toxic chemical dioxin.
Compost your coffee grounds
Composting isn’t a huge process — just get a plastic tub, drill a few holes in the bottom and fill it with some soil. Then add excess food scraps, used, torn-up paper towels — and you guessed it — coffee grinds to compost. It’s a simple way to discard your coffee grinds without adding to a landfill. One dose of coffee grinds don’t make a difference, but a year’s worth of coffee waste adds up to a lot. If you have a yard you can use to compost, it’s worth a shot.
Reuse the coffee can
Whether you fill your empty coffee can with spare change or pens and pencils, coffee cans can be reused in many ways. Coffee cans make great containers — and depending on your level of coffee addiction and artistic passion — they can make great object for household decoration and homemade art. Some examples of repurposed coffee cans include birdhouses, plant holders and candle holders — drill a few holes, add a handle, paint the outside and there you are!