GENERAL

Eco-Friendly Coffee In Your Cup!

It’s a necessity on Monday mornings (and every other one to be honest) – a big cup of steaming hot coffee! Roughly 30 million Americans take pleasure in this eye-opening, legal stimulant on a daily basis. Whether you brew it at home to appreciate or you head to Starbucks to delight in it with friends, there are actually eco-friendly ways to enjoy a cup of joe.

Aside from the obvious reusable mugs and recycled filters, what makes a coffee eco-friendly? Be on the lookout for the following terms when buying your beans:

“Shade-Grown” or “Bird-Friendly” – Beans labeled with either of these terms have been grown on plantations with a natural tree canopy above the fields. Utilizing the canopy as opposed to clear-cutting, these plantations enhance the amount of viable animal habitats and prevent habitat fragmentation.The shade helps a number of organisms from orchids to insects to reptiles to birds themselves! Search for certification from the Rainforest Alliance or the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center’s “Bird Friendly” seal of approval.

“Organic” – Organic means that the method of reusable coffee cup growing coffee beans doesn’t harm the environment by use of chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers. When chemicals are utilised in the farming process, not only does it expose field workers to cancer-causing chemicals but everybody downstream as well once the chemicals run off during rainstorms. Additionally, when sprinkled on the ground, these chemicals may well be mistaken for seeds and will kill any wild animal consuming them.

For a plantation to be certified organic, it must remain chemical-free for a minimum of 3 years prior and have to embrace responsible farming practices for instance recycling, composting and crop rotation. Wouldn’t it be great if we could make coffee from the sustainable and soil-friendly bamboo plant?!

Though there are some loopholes to be tightened up, there is still much credibility to the USDA Organic label. Aurora Certified Organic is also a label to watch for along with regional certifications.

“Fair Trade” – The human factor in eco-friendliness, Fair Trade is an agreement between suppliers and buyers to build an equitable trading network that puts neither party at a disadvantage. This practice is really a rebuff against the exploitation of the poor and uneducated suppliers who were easily exploited by buyers (of any industry). Not merely is this a boost for human rights worldwide, but indirectly Fair Trade rewards the environment as well. When growers obtain a fair cost for their coffee beans, they need much less land to sustain their livelihood.

The International Fairtrade Certification Mark (maintained by the Fairtrade Labeling Organization) is used in over 50 countries and sets the standard for all other certifications.

A lot of coffee businesses will seek out a minimum of two of these certifications making it simpler for the millions of coffee-drinking Americans to wield their buying power! Coffee beans are one of the largest cash crops in the world and with every dollar spent on organic, bird-friendly and fair-trade, customers send a message that responsible, environmentally-responsible farming practices might be rewarded. And that just makes the morning cup of java even sweeter.

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