Is Your Coffee Habit Killing our Planet?
Make an effort
You wake up and head to your favorite coffee shop, a daily routine for many. You do your part to save the environment by getting your coffee served in a paper cup, giving yourself the satisfaction that you’ve done a good deed. Little do many of you know that your paper cups are coated with plastic, which make them more challenging to recycle and more likely to end up in a landfill than be reused. Your coffee habit is contributing to the 16 billion paper cups thrown away; the equivalent of 6.5 million trees that are cut down, 4 billion gallons of water going to waste, and enough energy to power more than 50,000 homes. Still feel good about yourself? If you still do, how about you think about how long the cups take to decompose. Studies show that it could take hundreds of years for the different components to break down. I’m not asking you to stop drinking coffee. God forbid you miss your morning caffeine run. Instead, a simple switch would be asking for your coffee in your own ceramic mug or thermo, eliminating unnecessary waste.
Convenient But Deadly
In an effort to save money and avoid using paper cups, you decide to buy a coffee machine along with single serve capsules. If you were to pause and think for a second, you will realize the impact of continuously buying an aluminum and plastic capsules on the environment. But wait, you might argue that pods can be conveniently recycled, reducing your carbon footprint. For you recycling virgins out there, it usually involves thoroughly cleaning each capsule, separating the different materials, and finally driving to a dedicated recycling facility. Even when this happens, the pods don’t necessarily end up being recycled and instead end up at one of the many landfills we’ve created.
Be the Change you Want to See
So am I telling you to stop drinking coffee and survive on tap water? Possibly. However, seeing how your waste has reached drinking water, I wouldn’t recommend doing that either. In a recent study conducted by the World Health Organization, microplastics were found to be found in fresh drinking water as well as in our food. There are currently no recommendations as to how this could further impact our health. Rest assured, we won’t live long enough to see the drastic consequences of our choices but our kids and grandkids will. Let us try to leave them with a place worth living in. Simple choices have a great impact when done consistently. Try using a reusable coffee flask or cup and stop single-use products from polluting what is left of this world and ask yourself: Is my coffee habit killing our planet?