Cooking and eatingBlack coffee is the second most polluted beverage. in the first place? Its creamy sibling: the cappuccino. In short, coffee has a huge impact on the environment. As a consumer, it is sometimes difficult to decide how to drink coffee in an environmentally conscious way. Experts list four important things to watch out for.
Reduce your milk intake
It’s no surprise that a cappuccino is dirtier than a cup of black coffee. According to Milieu Centraal, the climate impact of one wrong cup of coffee is equivalent to fourteen cups of espresso. If you want to pay attention to the climate, it’s best to put little or no milk in your coffee. Another alternative is plant-based milk, which is less harmful to the environment.
Choose your coffee beans carefully
To ensure that the beans are grown in an environmentally friendly way, according to Mariska Justra of Milieu Centraal, it is best to look at the quality labels on the packaging. “Choose coffees with labels like those for UTZ and the Rainforest Alliance, which emphasize the environment.”
Check if the coffee capsules can be recycled
Packaging materials are also part of the environmental footprint. Coffee capsules have made a huge step towards preserving the environment. Where previously it was not allowed to use coffee capsules with vegetable, fruit and garden waste (organic waste), this has been allowed since the beginning of this year.
Joustra explains: “Many coffee pods were not compostable because they are made of glue that cannot be broken. 97 percent of all coffee pods are now compostable, so they can now be disposed of with organic waste.”
According to calculations, this can produce up to 88 million kilograms of valuable compost waste annually.
A reusable cup, one that you can refill yourself, is also a good solution
With or without coffee cups
What about coffee cups? It seems that the coffee industry is betting on biodegradable cups. “Recently a proposal was made by the European Union to ban aluminum cups because they are very harmful to the environment,” explains Michel Roskam Abing of the Plastic Soup Foundation. “Coffee producers are trying to anticipate this development by producing biodegradable cups.” For example, Nespresso recently announced that it will release a new biodegradable coffee capsule.
Oddly enough, it didn’t seem to have any advantage over the usual aluminum coffee cups. According to Erik van Houten, Marketing Director of Nespresso Netherlands, the new cups are designed as an option but not necessarily a better option for the environment. “Our studies show that the environmental impact of coffee made from a Nespresso paper capsule is comparable to a Nespresso capsule made from recycled aluminum.”
Abbing advocates avoiding cups as a better-for-the-environment choice: “Using a paper filter, for example, is better than a cup from an environmental point of view.” What if you still want to use the cup? “A reusable cup, a cup that you can refill yourself, is also a good solution. This goes against the convenience that consumers want when using coffee pods. If you choose the aluminum type, it is important to use a recycling program,” says Justra.
Personalize your coffee
Of all the drinks we ditch, at least 60 percent are coffee and tea. The advantage of coffee cups and mugs is that it eliminates waste, because each cup is made to measure. “A lot of people go back to the bean machine because they think it’s better for the environment, when that’s not necessarily the case,” says Frank Wild, Director of CoffeeB. Research shows that a split coffee system can emit up to 30 percent less carbon dioxide than a bean machine. “While a bean machine uses up to 10 grams of coffee per cup, portion coffee uses about 6 grams. By using more coffee, a bean machine is worse for the environment.”
According to Justra, consumers prefer the convenience of sipping coffee. But the slow way to drink coffee is often better for the environment. Consider making coffee with cafetiere or filtered coffee.” It is then important to limit the amount of coffee you use and not make more coffee than you drink.
How much coffee and black tea can you have during pregnancy? No Parents provides advice here on caffeine intake for pregnant women.
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