Lifestyle

Five steps for a sustainable coffee

Coffee is prevalent in many people’s lives from the morning pick-me-up or afternoon boost, to catching up with friends over coffee, coffee meetings or relaxing with a cup in the evenings.

There are many environmental challenges facing coffee today – habitat loss, deforestation, pollution, unsustainable farming, and as always, the dreaded disposable coffee cup.

That’s why it’s important your coffee is sustainable. By taking simple and actionable steps, you can ensure your daily brew better for you and the Earth.

Step 1: Choose Sustainable Coffee Beans Deforestation occurs to make room for coffee plantations, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and destroying natural habitats. To choose coffee beans that don’t contribute to this, look for Fairtrade and organic coffee with official certifications like Rainforest Alliance and Australian Certified Organic (ACO). These certifications ensure farming is more eco friendly.

Step 2: Use a Cane Sugar Alternative Sugarcane farming poses an environmental threat in Australia. In Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef lagoon is being polluted with pesticide and sediment runoff, mainly from cane farming. Cane sugar also contributes to habitat loss, resource loss through increased water use, and fertiliser runoff into vulnerable ecosystems. Choose a sugarcane alternative such as bee free nectar or maple syrup.

Step 3: Opt for Plant-Based Milks Animal agriculture uses a lot of energy and resources – not just to feed and rear livestock, but in transporting and harvesting meat and animal products like milk. In 2009, a study titled ‘Livestock and Climate Change’ found that livestock and their byproducts accounted for 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions every year. For coffee, this means not using as much cow’s milk, and opting for plant-based milks instead such as almond, coconut, soy and rice milk.

Step 4: Use Eco Friendly Brewing Methods The method you choose to brew coffee can reduce the environmental impact of your daily coffee. A fully-automatic machine has a greater environmental footprint than a capsule-based system, whereas filter, espresso machines, and instant coffee are the most eco friendly methods. If you use a capsule-based machine use a reusable coffee pod instead of single use capsules to reduce plastic waste.

Step 5: Bring a Reusable Coffee Cup If you opt for coffee brewed by the local barista, bringing a reusable coffee cup is essential to being sustainable. And if you go to a Responsible Café for your takeaway brew, you will get a discount for using your own cup – more money in the bank for you and you’re supporting a cafe that’s helping the environment. Visit www.responsiblecafes.org.

Biome sells a large range of reusable coffee cups, pods, hemp filters, Fairtrade coffee, cold brew kits and coffee grinders. Find these in store today.