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How Sustainable Is Your Cup Of Coffee?
For a lot of us, a cup of coffee in the morning gives us the get up and go to face the day.
But have you ever stopped and thought about the impact you are having: Where did this come from? How was it made? Is it sustainable?
With a new wave of concern for sustainability in business and consumer models, as over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed around the world everyday, our morning caffeine fix is a good place to start.
To its credit, Fairtrade has been an excellent marketing model for ethical consumerism.
It has raised the profile for concerns regarding sustainability and the supply chain in countless households. However, it has also been argued by the likes of Jeff Teter, president of Allegro Coffee, that “[Fairtrade] have done an amazing job convincing a small group of vocal and active consumers… to be suspicious of anybody who isn’t Fairtrade.”
It is not only the social aspects of coffee consumption that are cause for concern in the industry. In today’s society, consumers want high quality products in an instant. As such, in the past decade, more of our population have chosen to adopt a new method of getting their morning jolt: the coffee capsule.
Almost 200 million capsules are now bought in the UK each year and 1 in 5 of us own a coffee capsule machine. Generally speaking, due to the complex packaging (often a mixture of plastic and aluminium or foil) these pods cannot be recycled easily and regular recycling facilities across the country reject these items. Worryingly, this means the majority end up in landfill.
In Hamburg, Germany, the authorities have taken a harsh stance on this environmental menace by banning the use of these pods in any state-run building. The move was a message to residents that the taxpayers money should and would not be spent on something that is ultimately damaging the environment. Should we be doing the same?
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