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Going Green: Take your Coffee Green

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Whether you take your coffee black, with cream, frozen, or whipped, you can always take it green!  Even your coffee cup can be environmentally friendly, and small changes in your coffee routine can add up to a lot less waste and a healthier planet. At Southwest, we are proud of our green coffee consumption. We brew our own coffee onboard called LIFT and, for every pound of LIFT coffee consumed, we have donated to green-energy projects in coffee-growing regions.  That has added up to more than $45,000 since its 2009 debut!! Here are some easy steps you can take to make YOUR next brew tasty, healthy, and earth-friendly:
  1. Mug up: Invest in a reusable mug and kick the Styrofoam disposable cup habit.  If you must use disposable, try using eco-friendly paper cups.  On Southwest flights, we use cups made from 12 percent post-consumer recycled materials with built-in sleeves made of 99 percent post-consumer recycled material.
  2. Check for Fair Trade certification: Fair Trade labels ensure safe working conditions and fair compensation for farm workers, and many Fair Trade-certified commodities are also grown without the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or pesticides.   Mother Parker’s, the coffee and tea distributor for Southwest, is one of North America’s largest importers of fair trade coffee beans!  They also work with charitable groups that aid plantation workers and alleviate these countries’ dependence on the coffee industry.
  3. Buy in bulk: Resist the temptation to use individually packaged sugars, creamers, and throwaway stirrers to reduce waste.
  4. Be your own barista: If you’re considering buying a new coffee maker, try a French press!  Unlike most coffee machines, French presses are manual, don’t require paper filters, and use less water and energy per brew.  French press users think the coffee tastes better too!
  5. Use your grounds wisely: Use only the amount of coffee grounds that you really need, and then give them a second life when you’re finished with them!  Used coffee grounds are great for scrubbing grease off pots and pans, absorbing odors, fertilizing plants, and can even be made into a great body scrub—just add olive or coconut oil!
What are some ways that you keep your coffee consumption green?  Let us know by commenting below!