People in Singapore are a hardworking bunch, and most of us, young and old, require that cup of kopi or espresso in the morning as a perk me up before the start of the workday. In fact, Singapore consume so much coffee that more than 22.7 tonnes of coffee beans are needed per day to sustain demands for our favourite caffeine-laden beverage.
According to analysts from Berkshire Hathaway, a leading investment firm based in the United States, the global coffee industry is valued at US$102 billion in 2019 and looks set to recover promptly the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in time to come. Global demands for coffee beans will become stronger as a result. Although much of the coffee farming and distribution process is relatively emissions-free (save for its transport down the supply chain), the highly valued industry possesses unique opportunities to adopt environmentally sustainable techniques in the charge towards a cleaner, greener world.
Besides coffee cultivars, suppliers, and distributors, the consumers (i.e., you and me) can play a major role as well in encouraging environmentally conscious coffee consumption. Here are three things you and I can consider in our daily quests for the perfect morning brew.
- Opt to use your own reusable cups for to-go drinks
Choose to invest in and use a reusable coffee cup or tumbler when picking up our favourite orders in the morning. Using less of single-use plastic or styrofoam cups (which are often used for less than an hour before they end up in the rubbish bin) will also help our regular coffee chains and kopitiams reduce packaging costs.
- Purchase coffee beans from sustainability-certified sources
Since 1987, non-profit environmental organisations such as the Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade have been working with farmers and commercial distributors of crops to guide them in their journey towards sustainable farming and business practices. Some of these crops include coffee, tea, and cocoa. Choose to purchase coffee with such certification as they usually denote that the products are regularly audited to be sustainably sourced products.
- Recycle used coffee grounds if you brew your own coffee
Used coffee grounds can be used all around the house for several versatile purposes. Potted plants would undeniably benefit from used coffee grounds as a fertiliser as it not only adds organic material on the soil, but it also improved water retention and aeration, resulting in healthier blooms and harvests of household crops.
Coffee grounds can also be used as an odour neutraliser. Used coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which helps absorb and eliminate odours quickly around the house, in the office and in the car.
Lastly, consider composting used coffee grounds due to how effectively they break down in a well-maintained compost bin.
ResearchAndMarkets.com. (2020, October 6). Global Coffee Market (2020 to 2026) – Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis and Forecast . BusinessWire. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201006005799/en/Global-Coffee-Market-2020-to-2026—Industry-Perspective-Comprehensive-Analysis-and-Forecast—ResearchAndMarkets.com.
Rhoades, H. (2021, June 29). Composting With Coffee Grounds – Used Coffee Grounds For Gardening. Gardening Know How. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/ingredients/coffee-grounds-gardening.htm.
US Department of Agriculture. (December 11, 2020). Volume of coffee consumption in Singapore from 2017 to 2020, with a forecast for 2021 (in 1,000 60kg-bags) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved September 06, 2021, from https://www-statista-com.libproxy.smu.edu.sg/statistics/877309/singapore-coffee-consumption-volume/