How Green Is Your Cup o' Joe?

coffeecupConsidering the amount of waste produced from our rigorous consumption of coffee, many eco-friendly measures can be taken in the coffee industry to make a significant impact on sustainability. Here are three prominent coffee vendors who have set examples for taking eco-friendly initiatives:

Dunkin’ Donuts

By working with TransFair USA, Dunkin’ Donuts ensures their espresso products come from fair trade coffee farmers who take eco-friendly measures in growing and harvesting their coffee beans. Last year, Dunkin’ Donuts opened its first green store in Florida that implements energy-conserving technologies, and developed a creative eco-initiative that encourages customers to car-pool by offering discounts on group purchases of coffee and baked goods.

Peet's Coffee and Tea

Peet’s unique approach to "green" coffee-making takes place at the roasting step. Peet’s uses LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) roasting facilities for all of its coffee production, which cut energy and natural gas consumption by 40 percent. These units also use recycled materials for building construction and recycled coffee chaff, a waste product of roasting, in mulch.

Starbucks

Starbucks’ "green" initiatives are wide and various. Their Shared-Planet campaign focuses mainly on eco-friendly efforts within their stores, as opposed to in farming or processing facilities.

Having already successfully decreased wood consumption by more than 300,000 trees with their 10 percent post-consumer fiber cup released in 2006, the granddaddy of coffee brewers hopes to sport completely recyclable cups by the year 2015, along with in-store recycling. Starbucks’ "green" pledge also includes making all new venues "green” stores that will use recycled construction materials, decrease energy-use in building cooling and heating, and cut water waste. A third leg of their eco-efforts include energy conservation with the purchase and use of renewable energy sources.

Starbucks Corp. also recently announced they will be installing new faucets in stores that will save about 150 gallons of water a day.

So the next time you need a caffeine fix, make sure to think "green" and help reduce unnecessary waste by visiting "green" coffee vendors or through simple ways - and bring your own coffee thermos.