The New Year has arrived and if you're eco-conscious, you're probably looking to adopt some new energy-saving habits so you can reduce your carbon footprint. Thankfully, there are easy things you can do that won't flip your lifestyle upside-down. For instance, becoming more mindful of your coffee habits and taking strides towards small changes would require little effort and produce big results. While it may be awfully convenient to head to the coffee shop every morning and drink from a disposable cup, you can switch things up to help save both energy and money. Check out these five ways to reduce your carbon footprint while still remaining adequately caffeinated.
1. Utilize a reusable mug. Even if you still purchase your coffee from a barista, bringing in your own, reusable coffee mug can considerably cut down on the waste you are creating through purchasing coffee every morning. Paper and cardboard make up more than 40% of landfill waste with a significant portion of this attributed to disposable coffee cups. In fact, 14.4 billion cups of coffee are purchased in disposable cups every year. Imagine how much space that takes up. It's estimated that one year's disposable coffee cups could wrap around the Earth 55 times, weighing in at about 900 million pounds. Bringing your own mug will save you from contributing to this ongoing problem. Not to mention, most coffee shops will give you a discount for bringing in your own mug.
2. Purchase loose coffee beans. For those of us who prefer to brew coffee at home, we can reduce our waste by purchasing loose coffee beans. Packaging may be convenient but those bags and canisters will eventually end up in a landfill. Coffee is typically more available in bulk form than most products, making this an easy switch. Bring in your own reusable bag, fill it up in your grocery store's bulk coffee section and pat yourself on the back for refraining from purchasing packaging that will inevitably hurt Mother Nature.
3. Buy Fair Trade coffee. Most coffee is grown in poverty-stricken areas of the world. This often leads to large corporations taking advantage of farmers by paying them poorly. On top of that, between deforestation and chemical run-off, the mass production of coffee can have a negative impact on the environment. If your favorite beans aren't Fair Trade certified, there's no telling whether you are contributing to these problems every morning when you turn your coffee pot on. Fair Trade coffee products are certified to have been purchased and produced ethically. A Fair Trade certification can guarantee that the coffee farmers are fairly compensated for their product and known to be encouraging sustainable coffee production.
4. Unplug your coffee maker. Vampires are real. They live within our electrical outlets and suck energy every time we leave something plugged in. Well, there may not be actual vampires but keeping your appliances plugged in does allow outlets to suck up energy. Coffee pots are notoriously involved in this problem, providing ample food for the energy vampires at a cost of about $1.25 per month in electricity. Lucky you, there's no garlic or stake needed to rid yourself of this problem. All you have to do is take two seconds to unplug your coffee maker after you fill up your mug and the energy vampires won't get the best of you.
5. Use a French press. If you'd like to pretty much eliminate your personal energy consumption surrounding coffee, buy a French press! Not only will your coffee taste better, other than what's used by farmers and roasting plants, the only energy you'll use is the small amount needed to boil the water for your batch.