Memphis coffee lovers have an opportunity to adopt another waste-curbing practice at the coffee shop: reusable mugs. Not only can we reduce what we consume in the form of natural resources and waste, but we can also keep our drinks warmer/cooler for longer periods of time. Indeed, thinking and consuming through the lens of sustainability can also have unexpected extra personal benefits.
U.S. coffee consumption creates unnecessary waste. For example, coffee pods account for more emissions than other ways of making coffee. These emissions come in the form of greenhouse gases. Producing the pods’ packaging and dealing with the waste are the main culprits.
But there is good news: enabled by policy changes and innovative technologies, a new system known as the circular economy is emerging. Proponents of circularity aim to reshape the global economy and transform our relationship with the natural world — coffee included. The endgame of the circular economy is to close the loop of our industrial system by reducing resource consumption, reducing environmental pollution, and transforming waste into input material for the next stage of production.
In recent years, there has been a surge of companies using coffee waste — both used grounds and discarded coffee cherry pulp — to create new products: paper, 3D printer filament, charcoal, textiles and numerous others. And of course, coffee grounds are a fabulous addition to the compost pile!
As for both plastic and paper to-go coffee cups, while some of these cups are recycled, the vast majority end up going to landfill or finding their way into rivers and oceans. Not only does this have an impact on the environment- it also means that raw materials are continuously required to create new products.
Want to choose to reuse? Here is a list of Memphis coffee shops that allow customers to bring in their reusable mug for the barista to fill with their favorite coffee creations. Please be sure to pass your CLEAN mug to the barista with the lid removed to facilitate the transaction efficiently.
Anti-Gentrification Coffee Club
Bluff City Coffee
City and State*
Inspire Community Café*
Otherlands Coffee Bar*
Qahqa Coffee Bar
Tap and Tamp
Vice and Virtue
*Project Green Fork certified