3 Tips to make your coffee more sustainable

1) Brew your own joe

Save yourself both time and money by skipping the daily cafe trips and opting for a homemade brew instead! Not only are you cutting down on emissions by doing this, but you’re also reducing the waste associated with plastic and paper packaging from coffee cups, straws, stirrers, and lids.

Additionally–as the cherry on top–brew with local coffee beans that can be selected at any local coffee shop, cafe, artisanal store, or farmer’s market. Choosing local beans ensures that you’re cutting down on the footprint that comes with global shipping–plus, it’s a great way to boost your local economy and support small businesses. If this isn’t an option for you, try to look for ethically sourced beans with the official Fairtrade label (or Rainforest Alliance Certified, Bird-Friendly Certified, USDA Organic, etc) and avoid large chains.

2) Green your home roast routine

If you’re brewing with a traditional drip coffee pot, consider switching out your usual single-use, paper coffee filters for reusable coffee filters made of metal or mesh to cut down on waste. This will also save you money on filters over time! If you must use paper filters, opt for unbleached ones, which do a better job of breaking down and composting after brewing. Speaking of compost, don’t forget to throw your used coffee grounds in your compost instead of in the trash–adding compost to your garden is a great way to add organic matter to your soil to keep your plants healthy and happy. Alternatively, you can just add the coffee grounds directly to your soil if you don’t have a compost bin.

3) Heat efficiently or make cold brew

Measure your water! Don’t heat up more than you need to just to end up pouring your extra cold, unwanted coffee down the drain later. This both helps cut down on waste and save energy whether your kettle is electric or on a gas stove. To cut down on energy used to heat up your coffee water altogether, try making cold brew for a change! All it takes is a pitcher of some sort, a filter or cheesecloth for your coffee grounds, and some water to soak your grounds overnight–in just a matter of hours, you can have a nice refreshing batch of cold brew to last you the entire week!


Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Written by Carole Wilay ’25