How to have an eco-friendly coffee break

Our Ethical and Sustainability Coordinator (AKA Sustainable Steph)'s tips for making your morning caffeine hit kinder to the planet, from a DIY coffee scrub to planet-friendly pods

We love October. The world changes into a wardrobe of crisp yellows and reds, and there’s a nostalgic joy in filling the chilled air with a cloud of dragon-like breath. And our favourite activity of all? Cocooning ourselves in our most snug jumper and drinking in the beauty over a freshly brewed coffee.

By now, we’re all well-versed in the rules of making more eco-friendly coffee choices. Opt for Fairtrade beans. Say no to a plastic straw with your iced coffee. Don’t forget your favourite reusable cup when grabbing a cappuccino to go… You know the drill.

But, as this year has seen far fewer trips to our corner cafés than usual, we think it’s time to channel those sustainable efforts into making our at-home caffeine habits more eco-friendly, too. 

So, it’s over to Sustainable Steph. Here, she explains how we can make our living room lattes a little more planet friendly: think compostable coffee pods, reusable filters, and transforming your leftover coffee grounds into a fab body scrub…

Compostable coffee pods

Halo’s coffee capsules are made of sugar cane and paper pulp which makes them home compostable. They're also available on subscription, meaning you don't have to mentally remind yourself to get them every time you go to the supermarket! Coffee grounds are also a great fertiliser, so give your houseplants a boost by putting these pods in once you’ve finished with them.”

Reusable coffee filter

“Rather than using single-use paper filters for pour over coffee (my personal favourite of the caffeinated drinks!), why not try this reusable filter from Zero Waste Club. Again, this is made of stainless steel, so it’s long lasting and recyclable – as well as being really easy to clean.”

DIY coffee scrub

“Is there any better way to dispose of your old coffee grounds than by using them as an exfoliating scrub? Lauren Singer, zero waste legend and creator of Trash Is For Tossers, has created this recipe for a DIY Zero Waste Coffee Scrub. All you need is coffee grounds, sugar and coconut oil – so easy, and so effective.”

Stainless steel cafetière

“A simple rule of thumb for choosing sustainable products is that the fewer materials used to make them, the easier they will be to recycle at the end of their life. That’s why I’ve opted for a stainless steel cafetière for my morning brew. This one’s from Buy Me Once – a great website for long-lasting and sustainable products.”

Reusable coffee cup

“It wouldn’t be a coffee swaps round-up without talking about a reusable cup! A staggering 6.5 million trees are cut down every year just for disposable coffee cups. While some coffee shops are not accepting reusables at the moment due to Covid-19, I’m transporting my homemade coffee around in this ecoffee one. It’s made from bamboo, meaning there’s no plastic-y after taste.”