According to the National Coffee Association's 2013 online survey, about 83 percent of adults nationwide drink coffee. That averages to three cups a day per person, or 587 million cups, making the U.S. the world’s biggest coffee guzzler.
Most of us probably grab our morning Joe without thinking twice—even if we should. Reports of worker exploitation and habitat destruction in the coffee industry can make a humble latte both an environmentally and socially fraught purchase.
Here’s how you can ensure your beans come from a farm that’s good for workers and the environment.Ditch the paper cup: Fifty-eight billion paper cups are thrown away each year, according to BetaCup. Although the cups’ plastic resin coating helps insulate our brew and prevent leaking, it also complicates recycling. Do your part to reduce paper waste, and opt for a reusable mug. Bonus points if you choose a mug made of ceramic or stainless steel instead of plastic.
Forget paper filters: As long as you’re abandoning paper cups, why not forego paper filters, too? Instead of a traditional coffee pot, consider buying a French press, which doesn’t require a filter. It’s also cheaper and makes more flavorful drinks. A reusable mesh filter is an option for those who already brew their Joe in a pot. Linda Green Homes offers an array of reusable filters for the gamut of coffee brewer brands.
Look for socially and environmentally responsible labeling: Next time you refill on coffee beans, make sure you choose bags bearing the following labels: