5 Ways to Be a Much More Sustainable Coffee Drinker

If you are going to commit to being an agent for change in the world of coffee consumption, it will probably mean spending a little more than you used to on java.

We all love coffee. Most of us also like to feel as though we are making a positive contribution to the world as a whole. Unfortunately, these two things have historically been in conflict.

Not only is coffee manufacturing notoriously hard on the environment, but there are also well-known ethical concerns pertaining to the treatment of the employees that do the harvesting.

Does this mean that you need to give up your cup of morning joe? Nope. The good news is that there are actually quite a few ways to be a more sustainable coffee drinker.

1. Buy From the Right People

The very biggest way that you can make a positive impact with your coffee drinking is simply to buy from ethical manufacturers.

While the majority of manufacturers are not particularly discriminant with how they conduct their business, there are still plenty of businesses out there that harvest responsibly while paying their workers a fair wage.

The nice thing is that these companies generally are not shy about advertising the fact that they are fair trade and eco-friendly. Buy from the right places, and you don’t need to worry so much about the effects of your coffee drinking.

2. Be Precise in Your Brewing

This is a no-brainer, but try not to be wasteful in your coffee brewing. If you’re going to drink two cups of coffee a day, be sure not to brew any more than that.

A measuring cup is a great way to ensure that you don’t make any more than you’re supposed to.

3. Disposable Cups Are a No-No

Disposable cups may be super convenient, but they are also no good for Mother Earth. If you are going out for coffee, always ask to have your joe served in a mug. When you’re taking it out on the go, try to use a reusable thermos. The less waste you produce with your coffee drinking, the better off you will be.

4. You Can Even Do It With the Keurig

The Keurig seems like it would be the antithesis to responsible coffee drinking. After all, every single cup that you drink produces waste, right? Well, yes and no. For one thing, Keurig pods are all recyclable, which immediately reduces the environmental impact. Amanda from CoffeeChannel also mentions that there are also reusable pods that further eliminate waste.

It gets better, though. Keurigs give you an extremely precise amount of water and grounds, so that no resources are wasted. They even feature coffees from environmentally conscious manufacturers, further enhancing your ability to make a difference.

5. Be an Advocate for Change

No one wants to sound preachy, but when it comes to solving the ethical problems concerning coffee consumption, knowledge is power. There is a good chance that your friends and family members also would like to make a positive impact with their coffee drinking.

All you have to do is share your knowledge, and let them make their own informed decisions about how they want to use it. You can’t control what other people do, but you can give them the tools that they need to be sustainable coffee drinkers.


Unfortunately, the world does not always make it easy for you to be an environmentally conscious consumer of coffee. One thing to bear in mind is that ethical coffee consumption isn’t always cheap. It’s more expensive to manufacture coffee ethically, which means it’s also more expensive to buy said coffee.

If you are going to commit to being an agent for change in the world of coffee consumption, it will probably mean spending a little more than you used to on java. However, if you’re serious about making a difference, the extra cash will be well worth it.

For further reading: did you know that some paint and some coatings are bad for the environment? Paintsprayermag and RealMilkPaint.com talk more about this.

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Photo: Shutterstock

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