Aside from getting out of bed, the first thing that many of us think about doing is making our tea or coffee. Australians have a big commitment to both of these beverages.
Aside from the debates around Fair Trade and Organic production – the way we consume these popular beverages can make a difference to how sustainable they really are.
The idea of the teabag is a relatively modern construction. While the first tea bags developed were cloth bags created about a 100 years ago – it is wasn’t until 1944 that the modern version of the rectangular bag was invented – it was another 20 years or so before they became the norm in the market.
In 2017, Mike Armitage, a gardener in the UK, found that tea bags left a plastic residue after being composted. He started a petition to change that. Since then a number of manufacturers have stopped using polypropylene.
So if you are a tea drinker, switching to loose leaf tea can make a daily difference to your environmental impact. I also can’t help but wonder if it will also make a difference to your health. Surely it can’t be good for us to be steeping our hot tea with plastic. Just remember there are plenty of options for loose leaf tea drinking these days that do not require a full pot and it is not really any harder than using a tea bag.
As for coffee – coffee pods are the problem these days. Coffee pods are a serious environmental burden because of the share of the market that they have gained in recent years. Apparently even the inventor of the pod now regrets the invention because of the amount of waste it produces. While many companies have recycling programs, as with most things, ‘reduce’ should come before ‘recycle’ when you are looking to minimise your impact.
If you already own a home machine, there is a zero waste solution. Stainless steel refillable coffee pods are a fantastic option for you to move away from disposable pods. The bonus of this is that you can also ensure that you are buying Fairtrade coffee to further improve the environmental and social impact of your favourite beverage.
If you haven’t yet adopted the coffee pod phase, great! But you might want to check your impact still. Perhaps you need to carry your reusable cup more often. It might be wise to have a couple so you are less likely to forget.
These small changes to your habit can add up to a big impact over time. The more we can avoid creating waste, the lower our carbon footprint and environmental impact.