Green Your Routine: The Truth about Your Morning Coffee

Ever stop to think about the crime you’re committing with a sip of your morning brew? It’s time to spill the beans on the coffee industry. Fair trade sales have increased 8% between 2013 and 2014. These increases have been steady year after year and only predicted to continue. From 2004 to 2014, retail sales of coffee beans have grown a whopping 250%. There is no denying that the coffee market is shooting towards the sky. Every year, 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed, but like most mass marketed goods, the coffee industry has a dark side.Fair-Trade-Sales-in-the-United-States

The coffee industry has proven to be a big business, and those who trade it make big bucks. Sadly, this is not the case for those who grow it. Coffee farmers living in developing countries struggle to earn a sustainable living off of their crop, despite the high demand. The farmer’s low profit, which usually is around 5-10 percent of the final retail price, leaves these growers with no safety margin and many of their human rights abused.

This industry can also have a negative effect on our environment and even impacts the health of the trees. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reports that 2.5 million acres of forest in Central America have been cleared to make way for farming. This deforestation is continuing at an alarming rate. Incidentally, the majority of the countries with the highest rate of deforestation also happen to be major coffee producers.

So what can fellow caffeine drinkers do? We can begin to make smart decisions as consumers to support companies that value and promote a fair and sustainable coffee trade. If you’re looking for an alternative, Office Snax Pure Arabica Roast is made from 100 percent pure Arabica coffee beans. The Arabica plant is grown in shaded areas along the equatorial line in South America. The Shade-grown system preserves the surrounding forest and allows farmers access to fruit-bearing trees. This helps farmers, and their families to sustain themselves throughout the year, even when harvest season is over. This plant growing method is more sustainable than others because it leaves the surrounding foliage undisturbed.

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How can you change up your coffee routine?

When purchasing your cup of Joe, make sure to look for the Fairtrade or the Rain Forest Alliance Certified stamps on your bag. These certifications ensure that your brew has been sustanibily harvested. It also ensures that the retailer is abiding by humanitarian and ethical standards. That sounds like a good cup of coffee to us!Rainforest-Alliance-Certified-300x275

What about those of us who frequent our local coffee shop in the AM? Try looking out for chains that invest in using paper cups rather than Styrofoam cups. You can also try taking advantage of ‘bring your own cup’ perks.  Some establishments even offer a small discount as a reward. Besides using a reusable cup, there are other methods in reducing waste in our caffeine culture. For example, give reusable filters a try and take a break from the disposable ones. Reusable filters can last over a year and most are recyclable afterward too!

How do you green your morning brew? Make sure to check back with us next Friday, happy greening!

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