Tag Archives: environmental issues

Coffee Helps Us to Go Green

Written by Lori Thiessen

Have you ever looked at the used coffee grounds from you coffee maker as you throw them out and lament the waste? I mean, coffee costs quite a bit of money and to just throw out the grounds hurts frugal folks like me. And think about all the used grounds from all the used coffee shops everywhere. Ouch.

Let the hurting stop.

There are two new uses for used coffee grounds, printer ink and biofuel.

CNet’s gadget blog, CRAVE reports that RITI print box uses old coffee grounds or tea leaves and a little water to create ink. The drawback is you likely won’t have a lovely black print experience plus you have to swish the ink cartridge along and pull the paper through the printer at the same time; not very efficient.

However, this might be the start of something amazing!

According to Renewable Energy World.com, coffee has come under the microscope as a possible biofuel. More stable than other biofuel sources like used grease from restaurants and with an equal amount of oil from pre-processed biofuel sources like soybeans, used coffee grounds might be the substance the biofuel industry has been looking for.

Using used coffee grounds as a biofuel has other added benefits like your car exhaust could smell like a fresh cup of coffee plus coffee is quite high in antioxidants so using coffee as a biofuel could be an added health benefit instead of being gassed by carbon monoxide.

Coffee may play an even bigger part of our lives in the future aside from the quick pick-me-up liquid we’ve counted on for years!

Q: In what ways do you recycle your coffee grounds?

Until Next Time,

May your coffee always be freshly brewed!

 

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Growing More Than Coffee

Written by Lori Thiessen

The coffee bean we value so highly and pay so much for generally comes from some of the most economically depressed and sometimes politically unstable regions of the world.

Now that consumer compassion is a considerable force in the marketplace, most of the major coffee companies are building in not only environmental sustainability projects into their bottom line but community development projects in these poverty stricken countries, too.

Look at what three of these major coffee companies are doing to support positive, local social change.

Tim Hortons takes a keen interest in their coffee suppliers with a view to improving the coffee farmers and their families lives. By teaching and nurturing the small coffee growers to become better business people, it strengthens the local community and also creates a better product.  Tim Hortons now has improvement projects established in Guatemala, Brazil and Colombia.

Seattle’s Best Coffee also supports Fair Trade certified coffee and claims to invest in social and education projects that help to nurture the communities from which they buy their coffee.

By 2015, Starbucks has declared on its website that 100% of its coffee will be “responsibly grown and ethically traded”.  Through its Shared Planet Program, Starbucks invests in improving the health of coffee growing communities where it buys coffee. Starbucks also participates in foundations that loan money to local farmers at a better rate than they would normally get. These loans help farmers to weather the bad times and make their start-up experience easier and more profitable.

Coffee growing and buying is far more than just the land it grows on.  Without the small scale coffee farmer and his community, we coffee consumers wouldn’t have as much of that black gold to sip.

Q: Do you buy your coffee based on the company’s involvement in ethical sourcing?

Until Next Time,

May your coffee always be freshly brewed!

 

 

Just a Cup of Coffee?

Written by Lori Thiessen

Coffee is ubiquitous these days. On every street corner there is a café. In the grocery stores, there are rows upon rows of roasted coffee beans to be taken home and enjoyed. But there is a price to pay for our favourite and most accessible addiction.

The environmental toll that coffee takes from cultivation, to production, to consumption and post consumption is staggering, considering the amounts of coffee being demanded on the markets these days.

Dean Cycon wrote an interesting piece “Will Coffee Be a Casualty of Climate Change?” in which he discusses how global warming will eventually make coffee farming impossible in countries whose economies depend heavily on revenue generated from this crop like Columbia.

It seems highly ironic to me that the millions of coffee cups we throw away each year and leave to rot in landfills contributes to global warming which will eventually destroy most coffee growing regions. Mother Nature does have a sense of humour.

Beyond the crisis of farming in a time of global warming is the post-consumer burden on the environment created by coffee cups. In Toronto, city planners want to drastically reduce the amount of garbage heading to the landfill by 2010. One of their targets is coffee cups. Moira Welsh reports in the October 6th edition of the Toronto Star (“Coffee cup revolution urged”) that coffee companies will be required to have a self-managed disposal program in place in the near future.

Clarissa Morawski, a waste expert, suggests that coffee cups could have a deposit put on them like pop bottles. It would certainly encourage people to bring them back if it meant getting some money back. Or another scheme would be for coffee companies to offer a discount for people who bring in their own mugs.

So what’s the answer? Give up your daily cup or cups of coffee? My dad always advised moderation in everything, and I think it’s good advice. So I would suggest cutting down on the amount of coffee you drink, bring your own mug to the coffee shop, buy fair trade and perhaps buy your friends a travel mug for them to take with them to their cafes.

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Q: Do you bring your own mug with you to the coffee shop? If not, why not?

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll save your seat until next time.