How Coffee Shops Can Be More Eco-Friendly

Whether you stop by a cafe for your morning boost or fancy a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, coffee is a staple in most of our lives. That’s why it’s so important to find out whether your local coffee shop is helping or hindering the environment.

If there are two things we love at Esquires, it’s coffee and the environment. That’s why we’ve put together this useful guide on how you can begin making your coffee shop more eco-friendly.

Using Responsibly Sourced Coffee Beans

A man holding coffee beans in his hands

As we’ve discussed before, where your coffee beans come from can have a major impact on your final brew, but it can also affect the environment.

Aside from tobacco, coffee is sprayed with more chemicals than anything else consumed by humans – all those pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers are really harmful to the environment. That’s why making sure you’re getting your coffee beans from a responsible source is the first step towards a more eco-friendly coffee shop.

There are a few options when it comes to eco-friendly beans, including:

  • Organic - grown with no chemical interference.
  • Shade grown - grown under canopy trees with the principles of natural ecology, which helps to keep the forest where they’re grown happy and healthy.
  • Fairtrade - grown in a way that’s socially and environmentally fair.
  • Triple Certified Coffee - beans that are a combination of all three.

Recyclable Coffee Cups

A disposable coffee cup

Any styrofoam cup that is used and then discarded will inevitably end up in a landfill, and that’s where it will stay for the 500 years it takes to decompose. That’s right, 500 years!

By switching to recyclable or biodegradable coffee cups, you can keep hundreds of thousands of cups from winding up in more landfills across the country and do your bit for the planet.

Or, why not try promoting for customers to bring their own reusable cups for their hot drinks by offering a rewards scheme or a discount to those who do?

Energy-Saving Appliances

Every coffee shop needs appliances in order to run smoothly and efficiently, and those appliances are going to be getting a lot of use, which is going to require a lot of energy!

Thankfully, there’s an easy fix for this, and it’s as simple as switching over to energy-saving appliances. You don’t have to do everything in one go, but why not try changing out your espresso machine for an energy-saving one that has multi-boiler systems that optimise energy use?

And it doesn’t have to stop there! There’s plenty of new and exciting energy-saving tech hitting the market every year, from energy-saving light bulbs to high-efficiency water heaters.

Not only will you be saving yourself higher energy costs, but you’ll also be doing your bit to help save the planet; win-win!

Cut Down on Waste

A food waste recycling bin

It is a well-known fact that by cutting down on the amount of waste you produce, you can reduce your negative impact on the environment. It really is that simple.

Businesses (especially those with perishable goods) can produce an obscene amount of waste every day. This includes coffee shops. But, there are ways to combat the amount of waste your coffee shop produces.

Donate Uneaten Food

From sandwiches to pastries, anything that would have otherwise been thrown away at the end of the day can actually be donated to be sold or given to someone who wants it. There are even apps where you can get rid of uneaten food without it going to waste, including:

  • Too Good To Go
  • Olio
  • Karma

If you’ve got food that can’t be salvaged, why not compost it?

Donate Used Coffee Grounds

When you dispose of your coffee grounds in a landfill, they release methane gas into the atmosphere, which is even more harmful to our planet than CO2. This is why it’s integral to try and find alternative ways of disposing of your used coffee grounds.

This is where you’re in luck. Coffee grounds happen to make quite the natural fertiliser and even have the added benefits of improving drainage, water retention and aeration in soil. So, instead of throwing your grounds away, why not donate them to a local garden centre or allotments?

One person's rubbish is another’s treasure, as the saying goes.

Real Towels Over Paper Towels

Another simple switch you can make to help reduce your waste production is to use real towels instead of paper ones. This way, you can wash your towels at the end of each day and have them be good as new for the next rather than always throwing them away!

Shop Locally

Someone shopping at a farmers' market

If you’re trying to be more environmentally friendly, then one of the key things you should try is shopping locally. Doing this will not only reduce your carbon footprint by reducing how far your produce needs to travel, but it also has a massive impact on the local economy!

And don’t stop there! If you’re going to be using locally sourced products, then make sure you promote that to anyone and everyone that passes through your door. Yes, it’s a little more expensive, but recent stats have shown that 50% of consumers will pay more for green goods and services. Plus, supporting a local business is always a win in our book.

There are plenty more ways that you can be more eco-friendly with your coffee shop, but these options are a great way to get started!

Read our blog to find out more about sustainability in the coffee industry.

Read more about whether coffee is sustainable

If you want the chance to join an ethical coffee franchise, why not become an Esquires Coffee franchise partner? Read our FAQs to find out if you've got what it takes!