As a non coffee-drinker, I didn’t think I’d have to consider going zero waste with coffee. But since Jake got himself a French press, he’s been making his own daily brew at home instead of going to the local cafe. Although I completely support his coffee habits, we decided to search for ways to reduce the waste involved.
Getting rid of what you’ve got
If you’re an instant coffee drinker (no shame) then one small blessing is that the jars are great for re-use. Whether it’s for bulk buying or extra storage, keep your jars and find a reason to re-use them. I can’t find any direct information on whether these jars are recyclable, which is mostly due to the fact that lots of instant coffee jars have plastic in the lids. So play it safe, and keep them out of recycling.
According to One Million Women, coffee pods made from plastic will end up in landfill (obviously). So if that is the type you’re using, you’ll have to make peace knowing that’s where they’ll go. The other alternative is the ‘new style’ coffee pods made from aluminium. Although aluminium is an abundant resource and infinitely recyclable, it is very energy intensive. So neither option is really ideal when aiming for a closed-loop system.
The Nespresso brand has really got the monopoly on the coffee pod world, probably due to the George Clooney endorsement. Luckily the brand has recognised their environmental impact and have created a recycling program for their pods. If you, or your workplace use Nespresso pods, you can use this link on their website to find a drop off point for used pods near you. These drop off points are florists and nurseries around your town!
Coffee grounds can serve many purposes once used to produce delicious coffee. The biggest win is that coffee grounds can be added to the compost! As a nitrogen rich, PH neutral resource, adding coffee grounds to your composting will help to speed up the process. There are also plenty of other gardening benefits with coffee grounds, like for fertilising, so if you want to know more click here for a great article.
Buy straight from the source
A few of the local cafe’s around us are starting to sell their coffee beans in bulk. In Hobart alone, cafe’s like Villino will sell you beans in your own container equivalent to the size of their bags. If you have a favourite local cafe, just ask and see what they can do. We picked up around 500g of beans from the Currency Cafe in Lindisfarne for $12.50!
If you’re buying beans then you’ll need your own bean grinder. Luckily, Jake managed to re-home a beautiful coffee grinder from his parents for no price at all. If you don’t have one and want to grind your own beans, have a look on Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, or your local tip shop to see if anyone is selling one nearby. Otherwise you can pick one up from your local homewares store, or places like Teros sell stainless steel ones from Podstar for around $40.
Nespresso re-usable pods
If you’re deeply attached to the Nespresso machine, then you may be in luck. Podstar have a re-usable, stainless steel coffee pod that is compatible with most (not all) Nespresso coffee machines. Other brands like SealPod and WayCap also sell stainless steel pods compatible with Nespresso machines. You can buy these online through many different retailers, or in store from places like Teros in Hobart.
I think most people are aware with how many coffee cups end up in landfill, and it’s particularly distressing knowing people are still using take away cups when it’s probably one of the easiest things to replace in the world. So get yourself a keep cup! Lots of coffee shops will even offer you a discount for using your keep cup, as you’re saving them money too! But that being said, you don’t even need a fancy keep cup. Take a jar, a mug or anything that will hold hot liquid in it.
If you forget your keep cup, then take a moment to sit down and enjoy a nice cuppa. If you’re short on time, really evaluate whether it’s a necessity for you, and always keep the planet in mind. The changes we’ve made at home were super simple, and required no sacrifice. I know Jake is very happy with his first bulk buy purchase of beans, with lots of coffee drinking in sight.
For One Million Women article on coffee pods, head to https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/recycling-your-coffee-pods-nespresso-recycling-scheme-working/
For Nespresso pod recycling drop off points, head to https://www.nespresso.com/au/en/storeLocator#map-intro
For Gardening Know How article on coffee grounds use in the garden, head to https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/ingredients/coffee-grounds-gardening.htm
For Podstar stainless steel coffee grinders, head to https://teros.eco/products/podstarcoffeegrinder?_pos=1&_sid=2e7f73579&_ss=r
For Podstar stainless steel coffee pods, head to https://teros.eco/products/podstarpods?_pos=2&_sid=2e7f73579&_ss=r
For SealCap stainless steel coffee pods, head to https://teros.eco/products/sealpodrefillablecoffeecapsulestarterpack?_pos=4&_sid=2e7f73579&_ss=r
For WayCap stainless steel coffee pods, head to https://teros.eco/products/waycapezonepack?_pos=5&_sid=2e7f73579&_ss=r
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