Did you know that coffee capsules (you know, those Nespresso things) are actually more sustainable than almost any other method of making coffee?
It's strange to think that something that has so much obvious waste has less of an environmental impact than other types of coffee. It's estimated that 39,000 capsules are made EVERY MINUTE and 29,000 of those end up in our landfills.
But when we look at all the stages of coffee production, from growing and transporting the beans, to packaging, brewing and disposing of the waste, only instant coffee seems to be having a smaller carbon footprint. This is due to the precise measure of one capsule and the water being flash-heated to prepare your cuppa - other brewing methods use and waste more coffee beans per cup and generate more energy to heat it.
When you buy your coffee, make sure it is fairtrade and sustainably grown. There is a big difference in CO2 emissions between companies who grow their beans in the sun or the shade. It's traditional to grow coffee beans in the shade and use waterway buffering, but some farmers want to yield as many beans as possible and will use the sun to grow their crops faster, taking down forests and using fertilizers and pesticides to keep their beans growing.
When choosing your capsules, remember that recyclable aluminium capsules are more ecofriendly than other capsules, even those made with compostable materials. This is because of the way they are disposed of - but you have to make sure your capsules are sent to a dedicated recycling outlet. Lots of garden centers have recycling bins for your coffee capsules and Nespresso seems to be a great choice when choosing your brand. You can return your capsules to them for safe recycling and they pay premium prices to their coffee farmers and spend lots of time training them in efficient and eco-friendly farming practices.