Earth Friendly Steps for Coffee Lovers

Sep 29, 2010

1. Make the world greener with left-over coffee grounds.Coffee grounds are high in nitrogen and great for plants that like acidic soil. Plants like blueberries, hydrangeas or azaleas will appreciate a sprinkling of coffee grounds on the surrounding soil. For other plants, try adding coffee grounds to your compost bin (up to 25%). You can even compost the filters " they should easily break down.

2. Try an eco-certified coffee. Eco-certified coffees are commonly available in the United States and many coffees are double or triple certified. Common examples of eco-certified coffee include:Organic - Coffee that is labeled as organic should be produced in accordance with U.S. Standards for organic production. It is then certified by an agency accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, requirements include farming without synthetic pesticides or other prohibited substances for three years and establishing a sustainable crop rotation plan to prevent erosion, the depletion of soil nutrients, and control for pests.  North America is the largest importer of organic coffee.  RA - The Rainforest Alliance (RA) certifies coffee that grows where forests are protected, rivers, soils and wildlife conserved; workers are treated with respect, paid decent wages, properly equipped and given access to education and medical care.  According to their website, thousands of farms have been certified in 19 countries.Bird Friendly - Bird-Friendly is the shade grown (under the tree canopy) certification of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC). This designation is intended to help preserve the habitat of migratory birds. Certified coffee should be organic, shade grown, sustainable and environmentally friendly.

3. Bring your own Cup.Americans throw away millions of disposable cups every day. Bring your own mug or tumbler to the office or your favorite coffee shop. Some coffee shops even offer a discount if you bring your own cup. If you forget your cup, try requesting a bio-degradable cup.

4. Learn about improving the lives of coffee farmers.A number of organizations are dedicated to improving the lives of coffee farmers.  Why not learn about the people who are instrumental in producing your great cup of coffee? Fair Trade Associations are an excellent place to start. They advocate fair price, fair labor practices, direct trade, transparency, community development and organizational sustainability.

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