• Sadie Daffer

How I Zero Waste: Coffee

Updated: Feb 1, 2020

Every morning my coffee maker kicks on at 6 am, and I start my morning routine. I don’t know a day in the last two years, maybe longer, that I have gone with out a morning cup of coffee. It has become a ritual in my daily life, and one that used to generate so much daily waste.

Before, I would use paper filters and would casually throw the filters the coffee grounds in the trash, every single day.

I decided to start buying my coffee in bulk, both the grocery stores I regularly shop at offer bulk coffee options, Fred Myer (a Kroger brand) and Winco. The best part of buying coffee beans in store is that most stores offer industrial sized coffee bean grinders, which can grind up a whole pound of beans in less than a minute. They offer different size settings depending on your brew process as well!

When compared to the traditionally Folders coffee I would buy, bulk coffee somehow costs $2-3 more a pound. I think there is such large production of coffee beans from this company that they can afford to offer really low prices.

I balance my monthly coffee budget costs by no longer getting coffee from shops. I strictly make my coffee at home before work and to enjoy on the weekends. If there is a rare occasion when I’m traveling or want to try a new coffee shop in Portland (literally a thing people do here for fun), I make sure to bring my reusable mug (paper cups generate tons of waste each year), and shops are really happy to fill it up for me. I do this very infrequently; even a regular non-fancy coffee costs $2, which is a 1/5 of my monthly coffee budget.

To make coffee at home I have a Mr. Coffee maker, I bought 4 years ago and will keep it until it dies on me. The timed brew function truly saves me so much time in the morning and helps me get up each day. I finally realized how wasteful disposable filters are, and I bought a metal reusable filter about six months ago.

My coffee maker will eventually end up in a landfill, and when it finally goes out on me I will look into purchasing better zero waste options for a coffee maker. For example: a stainless steel or glass French press (both fully recyclable), a stainless steel espresso pot, or pour over coffee with a reusable filter (if you are extra fancy).

Thanks for reading, let me know where you are on your zero waste coffee journey!

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