It’s day four of the zero waste challenge! This is the beginning of the challenge, and it’s mainly focused on simple changes you can make. We’ll be getting into some more advance stuff next week.
Today we’re talking about zero waste coffee.
Americans are addicted to coffee (a third of the United States drinks coffee daily). Today, I challenge you to find a zero waste coffee habit that works for you.
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Today, I challenge you to refuse single use takeaway coffee cups.
With just Starbucks alone, we threw away 4 billion coffee cups in 2017. That’s insane.
Unfortunately, most of the paper cups you receive at coffee shops are actually lined with plastic. This means they aren’t recyclable in most facilities in the United States.
It requires a special piece of machinery to rip the plastic lining out, so that way they can recycle the paper from the cup. So, the cups usually end up in the landfill.
Thankfully, there’s a pretty easy simple fix. Some of the links below are affiliate links if you have any questions please read my disclosure policy.
options you have to refuse takeaway cups:
make your coffee at home:
If you already are making your coffee at home, there are a ton of methods that you can do that don’t require making any trash. If you have a Keurig or a pod system coffee cup, they make refillable k-cups and refillable pods, so that way you don’t have to be throwing away your pod waste.
Here are some methods regarding making zero waste coffee at home:
Italian method – Use a stove-top stainless steel Moka pot guaranteed to last for years with proper maintenance.
French press – Simply add some ground coffee and boiling water, allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then press the plunger down to access your cup of fresh, plastic free coffee. (I also use my french press to make tea!)
Espresso machine - The traditional espresso machine compacts fresh coffee into a small holding device, then forces piping hot water through it. This is a newer version of the espresso machine I had at work and LOVED it.
Turkish coffee – Uses extremely fine coffee grounds which are stirred into boiling water and served without filtration.
Drip machines - Your regular drip machine coffee pot works great too! They make reusable filters for those as well.
Depending on which method you choose, you may have coffee grounds leftover. If that’s the case, you can compost them or make them into a fragrant body scrub!
You can get my coffee scrub recipe in my new book 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste that’s available for pre-order! (In the book you’ll find tons of never before seen recipes for zero waste beauty products, recipes using food scraps, cleaning products and more)
bring your own cup to the coffee shop:
Did you know, Starbucks will actually pay you to bring your own travel mug?
You can bring your own thermos or travel mug to any coffee shop. It can be really scary to ask for something to go in your own container for the first time, but I have NEVER been turned down at a coffee shop. Typically they’ll just ask you to remove the lid of your cup.
My best tip is to know how many ounces your cup holds. This way the barista won’t even think about making it in their disposable cup and then transferring it to yours.
Neither are safe to throw in your bag. You have to hold them up right.
If you want one that you can throw in your bag in go, I suggest getting a leak proof lid like the loop cap for the klean kanteen.
Most of the time, I don’t want to carry a thermos AND a water bottle so I just use one item for both tasks.
I can drink my water, go into the coffee shop and ask them to fill it with tea (I’m actually a tea drinker), and once I’m done with my tea, I’ll rinse it out and fill it back up with water!
It’s great cause I don’t have to worry about carrying multiple items with me.
ask for your coffee to stay:
Make sure to specify that you’d like it in a real mug. Even Starbucks has real mugs, you just have to ask for one.
If you’re in a hurry, you can also get your coffee at a drinkable temperature while getting it in a real mug. Just ask them to make it at a drinkable temperature in a real mug.
This way your coffee will come out a little bit cooler and you can drink it immediately without burning your tongue.
If you’re in a super hurry and can’t stay in the cafe, then go ahead and ask for your coffee without the top. What we in the zero waste community refer to as going topless. ;)
The top of coffee cups is plastic number 6: It’s polystyrene or what we most commonly know it for is Styrofoam. It is not recyclable and it’s pretty toxic, so having that hot liquid constantly come through that top isn’t the best for your health. And, you’d be avoiding that piece of plastic.
take the challenge!
Over the next 27 days, your challenge is to avoid disposable coffee cups and keurig pods.
If you’re out and forget to bring a thermos and don’t have time to sip it in a cafe, I challenge you to skip that coffee.
I promise, when you’re so committed that you’re willing to skip getting a caffeine fix, you’ll for sure remember to bring your mug the next time!
Today, research and find a method that works best for you. Is it using a French press or Moka pot? Is it easiest just to take a travel mug with you to get your coffee on the go? Or are you enjoying your coffee to stay in a real mug and using that down time as a creative outlet to write, read, or maybe just sneak in some you time?
You have an abundance of options to choose from. Which one will you be doing?
Will you be taking the challenge?
Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.
I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.
PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.