By Fredrica Syren:
Coffee and tea are a big part of my daily routines. I usually have a cup of tea or coffee next to me as I work or play with my kids. It used to be that I would pick up a cup of coffee or tea from Starbucks throughout the day, but these days I try to make my cup of warm beverage less wasteful, even zero waste. Not only has it saved me lots of money and time (no more standing in line at the coffee place), but it also makes me happy that my choice is saving the planet.
To make zero waste coffee and tea, brewing your own at home is a most effortless and sustainable choice. To produce less waste, be sure to make only single servings of coffee or tea if it’s just for you. Brewing a pot of coffee or tea may result in extra coffee, filters and grounds that ultimately end up being dumped into the trash.
Buy in bulk—Buy coffee in bulk in the U.S. because coffee is one of the products most available in bulk form. Make sure the coffee you buy is fair trade and organic. To make it zero waste, bring your own bag or jar to avoid having to use a wasteful paper or plastic bag. For tea, make sure to skip bagged tea and go for bulk. Tea can be more tricky to find in bulk, but there are tea stores around the country selling tea in volume. When I run across them, I tend to stock up. You can also buy organic tea in bulk online.
Bring your coffee or tea to go—If you are used to bringing your coffee or tea on the go, then invest in a nonplastic, reusable car cup. That way, you can still brew at home.
Zero waste coffee and tea practice does not end there. Make sure to compost leftover coffee grounds and tea leaves. There are also many different uses for leftover coffee grounds and you can read more about that here.