Monday, February 18, 2008

Caffeine Fix!

I’m not a huge coffee drinker, but every once in a while I get in the mood for a “fancy coffee”…which usually results in a run to Starbucks, Dean & Deluca, or the coffee shop in the mall. Sometimes I remember to bring an old cup sleeve/coffee cozy. Sometimes I don’t. And since I’m not a regular coffee drinker, I don’t have a reusable travel mug.

Our office has a coffee machine and reusable mugs (yay on the cups), but I hesitate to use it. Why? Well, the coffee (even the cappuccino and hot cocoa options) is pretty bad. And it uses little individual metal/plastic packets for each cup. In the case of cappuccino, it takes two packets per cup. While these may be recyclable, they are not something we can throw in our standard mixed plastic/glass/metal recycling pick up…which means they go in the trash.

In an office of 140 people, this results in a lot of waste. Or trips to the “fancy coffee” store in the case of the coffee snobs – which also results in a lot of waste because many people don’t remember their reusable mugs.

What are the solutions? Well, a better coffee option at work might help. Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Get a barista machine and provide higher-end coffee
  • Add a staffed barista kiosk available in the office part time
  • Provide travel mugs and encourage employees to use them
  • Provide exclusively organic free-trade coffee – locally grown if possible
  • Brew large pots in a standard drip coffee maker and compost the grounds
  • Use sugar and cream dispensers rather than individual packets

Would these be more sustainable options? Possibly, depending upon implementation. It’s definitely worth thinking about.

1 comment:

CubicleDweller said...

When my former office (I switched jobs 3 months ago) installed a Krupz personal coffee machine system, I too lamented the waste and poor taste of the choices. I continue to consult at this office and have discovered that fewer people are drinking the coffee because they just don't care for it. At least it is reducing the amount of waste!

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