Building Habits for a Better Earth & a Better You
Our habits create the frameworks of our lives. Maybe your habits are as simple as feeding the dog, brushing your teeth, or greeting the day with a few minutes of stretching. For many of us, the habit of a morning cup of coffee or tea is the touchstone of our morning that gets all our other routines started. This year for Earth Day, we wanted to encourage our friends to consider ways they can build off of that pattern to add a little extra eco-friendliness to each day.
Reduce Every-Day Waste
Whether you’re pouring a half-finished cup of coffee down the sink or discarding a landfills’ worth of paper filters in a lifetime, here are a few strategies to minimize the waste from your daily cup.
- Invest in a stainless steel or other reusable filter for your favorite brew method.
- Freeze leftover coffee and tea from each pot to make coffee and tea ice cubes, or use as a replacement for water in sweet or savory recipes.
- Brew only the amount of coffee you want, or drink smaller cups at a time so less is wasted if you don’t finish it.
- Use a teapot, french press, or other waste-free method to prepare your morning coffee or tea.
- Bring a reusable cup when you visit your favorite coffee shop, or order your drink “for here” to eliminate the paper and plastic cups.
Reuse What You Already Have
There are SO many cool ways we can get more use from our coffee and tea before we throw the spent leaves and grounds away. There’s so much goodness in coffee beans and tea leaves, you might be surprised by how much use you can get from them! Here are just a few ideas:
- Use spent coffee grounds or tea leaves to infuse flavor into spirits, milks, or home-brewed beers, kombuchas, or vinegars.
- Spent coffee grounds mixed with your favorite body wash or bar soap makes a great exfoliator.
- Add used tea leaves to a relaxing bath, or soak facial pads in tea for a refreshing at-home spa treatment.
- Tea and coffee can be used to dye papers and properly treated fabric.
- Save and dry your used filters to repurpose for craft projects.
- Lots of recipes can be adapted to include coffee grounds, brewed coffee, tea leaves or brewed tea, if you don’t want to drink them. Check out our blog [link] for a few ideas!
When all is said and done: Recycle!
Whenever you’re done with your coffee and tea, whether that is as soon as you finish your cup or after you’ve repurposed it, coffee and tea are completely biodegradable and can go right in your compost bin. In fact, coffee and tea are GREAT for the garden. Hydrangeas, azaleas, blueberries and carrots are just a few of the common plants and vegetables that LOVE the acidity and phosphorus spent coffee grounds can add to your soil. Mix your ground coffee with your potting or gardening soil during planting, or mix with your fertilizer when your garden needs it.
It’s all in your mindset
We hope you might incorporate one or two of these ideas into your daily routine. Adapting our habits to be better for the environment might not make a huge difference to our ecosystem as a whole, but honoring the hard work and resources that created our coffees & teas is just one way we can give back to the earth that gives us so much. Many of the indigenous cultures where coffee and tea are grown believe in using every part of the plants and animals that are sacrificed for us. When we shift our focus from “more, more, more” to “how can I use what I already have more fully?”, we are choosing respect over greed and harmony over discordance. Together, we can all choose a brighter tomorrow, one small step at a time.
Happy Earth Day!