Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Regift, Repurpose, Recycle, Rot...
There are a lot of "Rs" and they are all important pieces of living more sustainably.
Focusing on just one thing to apply them to can help keep them in mind for many things.
Let's start with coffee.
There are so many ways to make enjoying a cup just a little more earth-friendly.
By focusing on just one item, hopefully, it will help you apply the "R"s more easily and memorably to other things, too!
Think about it.
Every choice is very important to the health of the planet. Coffee has a big carbon footprint from the production, water consumption, shipping, roasting, packaging, and brewing. Are there other choices that will be just as easy and satisfying for buying or brewing? Could you cut out some coffee in favor of a healthy glass of water or even enjoy growing your own teas?
If you do need that morning cup, read on...
Refuse earth-unfriendly stuff.
Ditch products (and companies) that harm the environment. Consider better options to capsules, pods, and pads that produce a lot of waste. Take a pass on single-use cups, overpackaged convenience items at the cafe', and plastic packaging. Opt for package-free bulk coffee, buying from sustainable growers and stores.
Have enough, not too much.
Do you find you are throwing out 1/2 of a pot or the last bit of your latte because you don't actually drink it all? Order a smaller size or make 1/2 of a pot.
Fix it if it breaks.
If you've broken a carafe, you know it costs almost as much to buy a new machine. But even if the cost is similar, in the end you end up with a working machine which is what you need. You may even be able find that carafe from a neighbor through nextdoor or FB Marketplace.
Refill your own, buy used equipment, and donate what you don't need.
Use a refillable cup, a filter-less coffee maker, a cloth napkin, a reusable straw....
If you no longer use your coffee machine, mug, or anything else, donate it, give it, or sell it so someone else doesn't have to buy new.
Done with your coffee mug or just have too many? Use it as an adorable little planter. Incidentally, you can also do that with paper cups, too. They work great for indoor planting spring seedlings. There are lots of other ways to up-cycle them in fun, creative ways.
Plant your grounds.
Who knew coffee grounds could be reused for so many things? You can save them for your garden where they make a great soil addition and help keep some pests at bay. They can even be used as grit on icy sidewalks.
The last option.
When you don't have better choices, recycling single-use cups and items should be a last resort. Since very little plastic is actually recyclable, make sure your city or county can recycle what you are putting in your blue bin. More importantly, ask coffee shops to take responsibility to recycle, offer composting, and allow refillable cups.