It’s inevitable, coffee has to go in cups. Too often in paper cups. Those cups need lids. And those doughnut-smudged faces must be wiped clean with paper napkins, so many, many napkins. When our cargo pockets bulge with croissants and our fanny packs bemoan another muffin we must carry our secret joys in a more conspicuous paper container, our happy box. Our joys add up and all those gleefully soiled papery and used plastic thingys become something. A big something. To be exact, it’s 28 tons of something… each and every year at CREMA. We checked, and it turns out that’s a rather MASSIVE pile.
Our maybe odd fascination with this massive pile of waste started a long way from here, on coffee farms. Our coffee producer partners care about their environment. They care a lot. They go the extra mile to find greener and smarter operating methods, like reusing their coffee pulp and repurposing water to grow grass for cows. Seeing their passion for sustainability inspired us to do something.
So we consulted with our long time partners, Earth Savers and Compost Nashville, and with their help made plans to go zero waste*. Everything we use is now recyclable or compostable. And then we just did it - two years ago we removed our trash can. Guess what? You’ve been great, patiently sorting your items into the compost and recycling bins. We’re doing this together! We're making small changes to be more aware and conscientious and you're doing it right alongside us! Our friends at The Tennesseean even wrote about it. We're two years in and still looking for ways to improve (compostable straws, anyone?) and this year we even diverted 30,200 pounds of compost from landfills!
Coffee will always be our one thing. Caring about ALL aspects of our one thing is a journey and we are excited about this small step.
All photos by Ryan Green unless otherwise noted. (Thanks Ryan!)
* The term "zero waste" has many meanings, it's a philosophy and a business accreditation for others. Typically a zero waste business is defined as one that diverts 90% or more of all trash that could be considered waste from entering a landfill. We do not pretend to be experts in either, for us we're using the term loosely to define our goal of taking small steps in a better direction. We estimate we're diverting 95% of all our waste (the remaining 5% are items from restrooms and unrecyclable or uncompostable waste brought in by consumers).