Over the past few years, research and facts regarding the effects of global warming have become a concern; various studies have emerged that support the negative effect of greenhouse gases on the environment. Individuals, as well as corporations, have chosen to support, promote, and fight for the reduction of man’s impact on the environment. Eventually, the natural resources we depend on will become scarce; and climate change could affect the very commodity we base our business on: Coffee.
In an industry as large as coffee, there is a lot of waste. For this reason, it is important to recognize the role that businesses play in leading the way for social change. A business adopting the green initiative will affect it’s customers actions on a daily basis, because they will be “going green” alongside. As a coffee shop owner, you have the ability to reduce the carbon footprint of hundreds of individuals (at least in one aspect of their daily lives); which in consequence will save trees, diminish the amount of harmful gases emissions, decrease waste, and reduce the growth of landfills. Even if you are skeptical about the “Greenhouse effect” and it’s impact on climate change, investing in making your practices more sustainable can substantially cut down operating costs for any business. Simple actions like turning off lights or appliances when they are not being used can make a difference. As a business, you have the power to generate change; but it all commences with someone that is willing to take initiative. So here are tips & tricks that can make your café more sustainable and reduce your carbon footprint:
Tip # 1 – Encourage customers to bring their own mugs to your café every morning.
Encouraging customers to bring their own mugs to the café every morning is one thing. Getting them to actually adopt the habit is another. When your customer finds the perfect design to fit her personality, she’ll bring it in every day. We call it: “The Art of Hydration™.”The way that our products improve sustainability above alternatives is very simple; people find a piece of their personality in the design they choose for themselves. That alone makes it easy to remember to take it with them in the morning.
Submitted by Erez Toker, Owner of OneVessel by Vessel Drinkware, www.vesseldrinkware.com
Tip # 2 – Use and promote reusable filters for Keurig brewers.
By offering alternative devices, like the Ekobrew, to heavily used and ecologically damaging products, the coffee retailer can gain new customers and have access to otherwise untapped revenue streams. The Ekobrew is a reusable filter that works in almost all of the Keurig brewers. Not only can the customer now use their own favorite coffee in their Keurig machine, they can save significant money over the cost of K-Cups. Over 5 billion K-Cups will be sold, used and thrown away in the next calendar year. The Ekobrew can be used hundreds of times and every time it is used, one less non-biodegradable, plastic-and-foil K-Cup goes in our landfills.
Submitted by Ron DeMiglio, President, Eko Brands, LLC. www.ekobrew.com
Tip # 3 – Market your brand with single-serve pods.
Soft paper pods are the green solution to single cup brewing, and are more environmentally friendly than throwing a plastic K-cup into the landfills every time you brew a cup of coffee. Spent pods from brewing cups of coffee are compostable. Simply break the soft paper pods apart and spread them around your gardens and flowerbeds.
Submitted by Tom Martin, Executive Vice President /COO of Pod Pack International, LTD. www.podpack.com
Tip # 4 – Start using eco-friendly packaging for your roasted coffee.
With many Organic, Fair Trade coffee brands looking for the right solutions, ours is the only one recommended by the Environmental Biology Department of the University of Milan, Italy. It is Omnidegradable, in that it will compost in a backyard, and Biodegrade in any landfill, river, lake or ocean. 5 years of testing at Case Western University showed it will not harm plants, insects or soil. It leaves behind, Water, CO2, and a small amount of Organic Biomass; all beneficial to plant growth. It is the only Bio Film that will not break down on the store shelves or customers homes.
Submitted by Robert Pocius, President of TekPak Solutions,
At PBi, we understand the challenge with packaging has been offering a true sustainable option that offers a barrier protection. Our Biotre film and stock Biotre side gusset bags will do just that. Made from 60% wood pulp that will biodegrade in about 90 days and the other 40%, by weight, is made up of a treated plastic that will biodegrade within 4-5 years, significantly less than standard plastics and barrier bags. Additionally, tins and compostable paper tin-tie bags make great reusable options for retail stores and often many retailers/roasters will offer a discount to customers for reusing the packaging.
Submitted by Kelle Vandenberg, Director of Marketing, PBi. www.pacificbag.com
Tip # 5 – Offer a compostable coffee cup to serve your next cup of coffee.
Compostable coffee cups perform the same way a conventional coffee cup does but with out any of the drawbacks. Compostable coffee cups eliminate the use of any petroleum based materials that are not sustainable, and in some instances can take up to 100 years to completely break down. Conventional coffee cups are non- recyclable, meaning they end up in our landfills, parks, and oceans. With Americans consuming over 20 billion coffee cups, can you imagine the impact that could make if cafés would switch to compostable cups that will fully break down in less than a year? Leave the old in the past, compostables are the future.
Submitted by Alonso Ortega, Sales Manager at Pacific Green Products, www.PacificGreenProducts.com
When we did our study for Carbon Trust certification, we found that despite what would seem to be a common sense answer to avoiding single use tableware, like using a ceramic mug and rewashing it, the carbon footprint of the mug was much higher in terms of carbon emissions. Once you calculate in how much energy is being consumed to first make the ceramic or steel mug at the factory, which is a very large amount; then the repeated washing with the requisite energy for water pumping, heating the water, cleaning the water; and the manufacturing of the soaps and the transport of them; the carbon emissions for a 100% pct biobased or bioresin compostable hot cup was much, much lower. It even surprised us.
Submitted by Buzz Chandler, President of Asean Corporation (Stalkmarket, Planet+ and Jaya brands), www.stalkmarketproducts.com
Tip # 6– Don’t settle with only the cup – offer a compostable lid to go with it!
Ask yourself, does it make sense to serve your customer a compostable hot beverage cup topped with a polystyrene lid? Avoid the petroleum altogether! Biodegradable Food Service offers an attractive kraft cup lined with a bio-based inner coating, capped with an equally attractive bamboo fiber lid, all of which comprises a 100% compostable drink package. We call it the Earth Cup.
Submitted by Kevin Duffy, CEO of Biodegradable Food Service, LLC, www.Earth-To-Go.com
Tip # 7 – Reduce power consumption and save money with a Green Line espresso machine.
Let’s face it, we all know you’re supposed to leave your espresso machine turned on, but what about your power bill? The first born of our Green Line, Plus 4 You, dramatically reduces power consumption with its standby and nighttime shutdown modes. The self-learning software can optimize the energy savings by powering down part of the machine during slow periods as well. Compared to a traditional espresso machine, the Plus 4 You grants energy savings from 30% to 47.6%.
Submitted by Courtney Baber, Sales & Marketing, Astoria/General Espresso Equipment, www.usa.astoria.com
Tip # 8 – Create your menus, gift cards, brochures, signage, and business cards out of recycled material.
As a highly visible and tactile product, Kona Paper offers many easy and simple ways for cafés to create more meaningful messages about the environment that really resonate with customers. Since the paper is made out of recycled coffee bean bag fiber, the mere mention of Kona Paper’s “story” as a tagline on a menu, table tent, gift card/gift cardholder or bag visibly demonstrates your café’s commitment to going green. More importantly, using Kona Paper positively repurposes a significant portion of the coffee industry’s waste stream in a fresh, new way.
Submitted by Greg Johnson,Sales & Marketing Vice President of Kona Paper, www.konapaper.com
Tip # 9 – Acquire the adequate icemaker to reduce utility consumption.
Use Chewblet® icemakers to reduce utility consumption. In addition to providing consumer-preferred ice, Chewblet icemakers will consume up to 25% less electricity and up to 40% less water compared to traditional cube-type icemakers, depending on the size of the machine. Upgrading, old inefficient icemakers to current standards is usually a good choice from a utility consumption perspective.
Submitted by Mike Rice, Senior Product Marketing Manager of Follett Corporation, www.follettice.com
Tip # 10 – Seek to make partnerships with producers and purchase green coffee from farms that support sustainable practices.
A green cup of coffee starts with the grower. Supporting farms that promote green agricultural practices, and paying farmers a better price for their coffee will not only have a beneficial effect on the environment, but on communities and families as well. The Doi Chaang Coffee Company has a unique partnership between the Akha hillside tribe of Doi Chang Village, located in the Chiang Rai Province of Northern Thailand, and a small Canadian group of coffee enthusiasts. The Thai farming family co-operative cultivate and process 100% Arabica, organic, single-origin coffee beans while the Canadian experts roast, market and distribute the coffee.
The coffee is cultivated in small family gardens with everyone committed to maintaining sustainable agriculture and having minimal impact on the natural habitat. Doi Chaang Coffee is labeled “Going Beyond Fair Trade” because the farmers are paid in excess of the price recommended by the Fair Trade Organization for their green beans. In addition, the Thai farmers have a 50% registered ownership in the Canadian company, Doi Chaang Coffee Company, which is funded 100% by the Canadian Group.
Submitted by John M. Darch, President and CEO of Doi Chaang Coffee Company, www.doichaangcoffee.com
Taking the necessary steps to “go green” will have positive effects not only on the environment, but on your profits as well. Inform your customers about your efforts on going green; you might be surprised by the positive response you get from the public. While this should not be your primary motivation on supporting the matter, it can be a beneficial side effect. People are always looking to support a cause, and going green is one that is widely recognized. By offering eco-friendly products and showing consumers your efforts, you will strengthen your customer loyalty and enlarge your clientele. Furthermore, engage your employees in you efforts to go green. Ask them for ways you can reduce waste, use resources more efficiently, and save money. Every company should constantly strive to improve not only their business practices but their community and environment as well. Make a difference, one green cup at a time.