Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Sustainable Cup of Coffee

What is behind a cup of coffee?

It's getting cooler and a little more rainy these days, which seems to instigate an increase in my coffee consumption. And of which makes me feel a necessity to look closer at what an increase in my consumption might mean behind the scenes. What type of business am I supporting? Is the supply chain sustainable or depleting to some population of people and place in the world? And even more, what is the quality of coffee I am putting in my body?
It's easy for me not to think of these questions when I am in the moment of craving my vice, but making a point of it now, will hopefully tattoo the importance of asking myself these questions for next time.

Simple things to think about:
Am I bringing my own cup?
Or, if I forgot and have to use a to-go, can it be composted? And if your in Sweden where theres great recycling- I can recycle the plastic top and cup.
Is the coffee Fair Trade, Organic, Ethically grown... 'eco-friendly'? Any of these improve the quality for yourself and the others that are part of the process.

Carbon Footprinting of a 'Cup of Coffee'
Quoted from Nature Next, Safety 1st
"Many activities leave a carbon footprint, but you can help shrink yours down.
The term “carbon footprint” is often used to talk about our impact on the planet, but many people are still a little confused about what it means. This article takes a brief look at the term and gives a few examples of things that can cause your footprint to grow larger. We also give some quick tips on how to reduce the size of your personal carbon footprint.

A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide produced by a human or organization over a given period of time or for a given activity. It sounds simple enough, and may even have you thinking that your own carbon footprint must be small. After all, other than driving a car, what could you be doing that releases carbon dioxide? The answer is actually quite a lot!

Two examples of activities that cause a carbon footprint are buying a cup of coffee while you are out and making a cup of coffee at home. Let us reassure you, we do not expect anyone to stop drinking coffee! But this everyday drink can be used in two simple examples to show how a carbon footprint grows.

Going to the local coffee shop
Going to the local coffee shop involves getting a drink in a disposable cup. Seems harmless enough, but think about the energy that goes into getting that cup of coffee.
Carbon dioxide released during the drive to the shop.
Carbon dioxide released to make that disposable cup.
Carbon dioxide released transporting the cup and ingredients to the shop.
Carbon dioxide released making those ingredients into a delicious drink.

Before you wonder what sort of crazy coffee shop uses a fossil-fuel engine to make a cup of coffee, remember that the majority of electricity in the U.S. is produced by burning coal or other fossil fuels.
BOOM, your foot comes down hard onto the ground and there is your carbon footprint for the activity."

For the rest of this article go to- Carbon Footprinting

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