5 Reasons Coffee is Bad to the Environment

As the second most traded commodities, and second most consumed beverage in the World, coffee contributes to a major part of the world’s economy, and millions of people’s livelihood depends on it. However, it also means coffee is also a major contributor to green house gas, and climate change. There are 5 reasons why coffee is so “Bad” to the enviornment:

1. Deforestation

Coffee is grown in area called the bean belt, which is between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The same area is also most of our rain forest are located. Coffee, especially Arabica coffee is a shade loving plants, but due to the huge demand, large scale commercial platations normally means replacing the primary rain forest (deforestation). This resulted in the European Union passing new regulations forbidding coffee grown by deforestation to be imported to EU next year.

2. Waste from Processing

The most common method of processing coffee cherry (turning the cherry fruit into green beans) is by washing. This process produce quite a lot of waste water which, if not managed properly, can cause serious water pollution.

Besides the water from washing, coffee cherry pulps are also normally not properly disposed. While most people think that argricultural waste are not very harmful, or even can be good fertilizer, the washing process involve certain amount of fermentation, the pulp when left unmanaged, produce a significant amount of menthene gas – a major green house gas is worst than CO2

3. Green House Gas

Besides the issue of menthene gas from unmanaged coffee pulp waste, the coffee we drink also must go through the roasting process. Although electric roasters are gaining popularity, most of our coffee is still roasted by gas, and the process certainly means release of CO2.

4. Transportation

While most of the coffee is produced in countries in the belt area, the major consumers are not. When you are sipping your Kenyan Specialty in New York, have you imagine how long the coffee has to travel to reach your coffee shop? The estimate is that for each ton of coffee from Kenya to New York, 700 to 3,500 Kg of CO2 is produced by the container ship!

5. Packaging

Whether it’s the paper cup for your joe, or the bag for the beans, as a highly rated beverage, the material used are normally designed to be sturdy and tight.

While you may say compared to many other products, your cup of coffee is not that bad, imagine everyday over 2 Billion (2,000,000,000) cups of coffee are consumed worldwide, the effect is enormous.

But you can make a difference

But, no, it does not mean you should stop drinking coffee. The good news is there is a lot you can do to help. Here are some advices:
– Drink local coffee, support your local farmer so they do not have to rely on export only
– Support small hold farmers growing on forest land. For example, our coffee all comes from Chaingmai Thailand from farmers who grow in the forest organically.
– Bring your own cup
– Choose environmentally friendly packed coffee