It's hard for me to believe that I didn't start drinking coffee until less than two years ago. Whether or not it's good for me, that's a conversation for another day. But how I can make my addiction a little more environmentally friendly, that's something I'm willing to discuss right now.

Here are some tips on leaving less of an impact on the earth whether you're drinking your first or your fifth cup of the day.

Make your own coffee

It's amazing how sometimes it seems easier to get in the car and drive to the local Starbucks or mini-mart to get coffee than it is to schlep on down to my own kitchen and make it myself. But sometimes, it happens. But it's been happening less and less around my house.

Why is making your own greener?

  • You save gas and emissions by not driving your car just to get a cup of coffee
  • You save waste - no paper cup (or worse - styrofoam cup), plastic stir stick, paper packet of sugar, or little plastic creamer cup to throw away when you're done
  • You can ensure that the coffee itself is green (see next point)
Purchase fair trade, shade grown or organic coffee

Any one of these options is grown in a manner that is healthier for the earth. The coffee of choice in our house currently is Paul Newman's Special Blend. It's organic and fair trade certified. It costs a bit more, but since we're making our own coffee much more often, we're saving a lot on coffee and can afford some better beans.

Reuse your grinds

There is a great post over at Sustainable Enterprises on recycling grinds as compost and fertilizer and the like.

Choose a better filter

Buy brown, unbleached paper filters or better yet, purchase a reusable one.

Take your own travel mug to the coffee house and beyond

For those times when you go beyond your own kitchen for your coffee, do what you can to avoid the paper cups.

We have a fabulous little coffee house in my town, and they welcome those who bring their own travel mug. They'll even rinse it out for you if need be. I also often take my own mug to my mom's group, church meetings, and other places I know there will be coffee offered.

If anyone has any tips I haven't thought of, feel free to add them in the comments.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Greening your coffee habit
Your love for coffee doesn't have to interfere for your love for the earth. You can green your coffee habit easily.