Coffee and the environment: What is the industry doing about plastic pollution?

Coffee and the environment- What is the industry doing about plastic pollution?

Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world, and more than 400 billion coffees are consumed every year. For much of the world, that causes a big problem: plastic pollution.

Plastic pollution is devastating our planet, and there may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean, making up to 90 percent of all marine debris.

We must therefore ask: what is the industry doing about plastic pollution? And what more can be done?

A few facts about single-use plastics

Single-use plastics are nasty things. Plastic pollutes the planet and needs recycling. When it comes to coffee cups, almost 99.75 percent of all coffee cups don’t get recycled. They’re made from a mixture of paper and plastic to ensure insulation and heat proofing, and this type of material (called polyurethane plastic) can’t be separated and recycled.

Single-use plastics also:

      Consume 4 billion trees, or 35 percent of the total trees chopped down, are used in paper industries.

      Use one tonne of paper during the manufacturing process.

      Come from diminishing forests. In fact, 70 percent of the world’s paper comes from here, instead of plantations or recycling.

      Lead to waste. Consumer waste has increase more than tenfold throughout the 20th Century, from 40kg of waste to 560 kg of waste per person.

Coffee is a ferociously in-demand product, and it takes a toll on the planet. But the industry is doing things to fight it…

The evolution of reusable cups

Every year, half a trillion disposable cups are manufactured around the globe. That equates to more than 70 disposable cups for every person on the planet.

The KeepCup movement (and other reusable cup movements) changed the coffee game for the better – one KeepCup reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 92 percent compared to disposable cups, and eventually, reusable cups like KeepCup will replace disposable cups altogether.

In fact, many specialty coffee companies across the planet are offering discounts to coffee drinkers who use their own cup, and some don’t serve coffee to go unless you bring your own mug. While this may seem limiting, this stand against single-use plastics is important if we are to make change across the industry.

Responsibility lies with both parties

Habits must be broken and rebuilt for change to happen, however. Coffee drinkers must work to be more conscious and bring their own coffee mugs when they venture out for coffee. Coffee shops must in turn become more socially conscious and do what they can to increase sustainability, raise awareness and reduce waste.

We’ve already seen a ban in plastic straws and a reduction in wooden coffee stirrers; it is only a matter of time before we see a change in the way we use disposable cups.

Coffee Bros and the environment

Today’s coffee culture is over complicated, pretentious and well, outright intimidating for the average coffee drinker. Oftentimes, people just want ‘a cup of coffee’ without all the add-ons.

Simplicity is our ethos. And with simplicity comes less waste. We have four coffees available for order, ranging from light roast to dark roast. We freshly source these from our favourite farms. They’re transported in sustainable and reusable sacks. And they’re roasted to order so there’s no waste.

To find out more about us, visit our website or read our blog.

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