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by Ashley Prentice

Going Green: Tips and Tricks That Can Make a Difference

Categories: 2011, NovemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Over the past few years, research and facts regard­ing the effects of global warm­ing have become a con­cern; var­i­ous stud­ies have emerged that sup­port the neg­a­tive effect of green­house gases on the envi­ron­ment. Individuals, as well as cor­po­ra­tions, have cho­sen to sup­port, pro­mote, and fight for the reduc­tion of man’s impact on the envi­ron­ment. Eventually, the nat­ural resources we depend on will become scarce; and cli­mate change could affect the very com­mod­ity we base our busi­ness on: Coffee.

In an indus­try as large as cof­fee, there is a lot of waste. For this rea­son, it is impor­tant to rec­og­nize the role that busi­nesses play in lead­ing the way for social change. A busi­ness adopt­ing the green ini­tia­tive will affect it’s cus­tomers actions on a daily basis, because they will be “going green” along­side. As a cof­fee shop owner, you have the abil­ity to reduce the car­bon foot­print of hun­dreds of indi­vid­u­als (at least in one aspect of their daily lives); which in con­se­quence will save trees, dimin­ish the amount of harm­ful gases emis­sions, decrease waste, and reduce the growth of land­fills. Even if you are skep­ti­cal about the “Greenhouse effect” and it’s impact on cli­mate change, invest­ing in mak­ing your prac­tices more sus­tain­able can sub­stan­tially cut down oper­at­ing costs for any busi­ness. Simple actions like turn­ing off lights or appli­ances when they are not being used can make a dif­fer­ence. As a busi­ness, you have the power to gen­er­ate change; but it all com­mences with some­one that is will­ing to take ini­tia­tive. So here are tips & tricks that can make your café more sus­tain­able and reduce your car­bon footprint:

Tip # 1 – Encourage cus­tomers to bring their own mugs to your café every morn­ing.
Encouraging cus­tomers to bring their own mugs to the café every morn­ing is one thing. Getting them to actu­ally adopt the habit is another. When your cus­tomer finds the per­fect design to fit her per­son­al­ity, she’ll bring it in every day. We call it: “The Art of Hydration™.”The way that our prod­ucts improve sus­tain­abil­ity above alter­na­tives is very sim­ple; peo­ple find a piece of their per­son­al­ity in the design they choose for them­selves. That alone makes it easy to remem­ber to take it with them in the morn­ing.
Submitted by Erez Toker, Owner of OneVessel by Vessel Drinkware, 
www.vesseldrinkware.com

Tip # 2 – Use and pro­mote reusable fil­ters for Keurig brew­ers.
By offer­ing alter­na­tive devices, like the Ekobrew, to heav­ily used and eco­log­i­cally dam­ag­ing prod­ucts, the cof­fee retailer can gain new cus­tomers and have access to oth­er­wise untapped rev­enue streams. The Ekobrew is a reusable fil­ter that works in almost all of the Keurig brew­ers. Not only can the cus­tomer now use their own favorite cof­fee in their Keurig machine, they can save sig­nif­i­cant money over the cost of K-Cups. Over 5 bil­lion K-Cups will be sold, used and thrown away in the next cal­en­dar year. The Ekobrew can be used hun­dreds of times and every time it is used, one less non-biodegradable, plastic-and-foil K-Cup goes in our land­fills.
Submitted by Ron DeMiglio, President, Eko Brands, LLC. www.ekobrew.com

Tip # 3 – Market your brand with single-serve pods.
Soft paper pods are the green solu­tion to sin­gle cup brew­ing, and are more envi­ron­men­tally friendly than throw­ing a plas­tic K-cup into the land­fills every time you brew a cup of cof­fee. Spent pods from brew­ing cups of cof­fee are com­postable. Simply break the soft paper pods apart and spread them around your gar­dens and flowerbeds.
Submitted by Tom Martin, Executive Vice President /COO of Pod Pack International, LTD. www.podpack.com

Tip # 4 – Start using eco-friendly pack­ag­ing for your roasted cof­fee.
With many Organic, Fair Trade cof­fee brands look­ing for the right solu­tions, ours is the only one rec­om­mended by the Environmental Biology Department of the University of Milan, Italy. It is Omnidegradable, in that it will com­post in a back­yard, and Biodegrade in any land­fill, river, lake or ocean. 5 years of test­ing at Case Western University showed it will not harm plants, insects or soil. It leaves behind, Water, CO2, and a small amount of Organic Biomass; all ben­e­fi­cial to plant growth. It is the only Bio Film that will not break down on the store shelves or cus­tomers homes.

Submitted by Robert Pocius, President of TekPak Solutions,
www.tekpaksolutions.com

Also…

At PBi, we under­stand the chal­lenge with pack­ag­ing has been offer­ing a true sus­tain­able option that offers a bar­rier pro­tec­tion. Our Biotre film and stock Biotre side gus­set bags will do just that. Made from 60% wood pulp that will biode­grade in about 90 days and the other 40%, by weight, is made up of a treated plas­tic that will biode­grade within 4–5 years, sig­nif­i­cantly less than stan­dard plas­tics and bar­rier bags. Additionally, tins and com­postable paper tin-tie bags make great reusable options for retail stores and often many retailers/roasters will offer a dis­count to cus­tomers for reusing the packaging.

Submitted by Kelle Vandenberg, Director of Marketing, PBi. www.pacificbag.com

Tip # 5 – Offer a com­postable cof­fee cup to serve your next cup of cof­fee.
Compostable cof­fee cups per­form the same way a con­ven­tional cof­fee cup does but with out any of the draw­backs. Compostable cof­fee cups elim­i­nate the use of any petro­leum based mate­ri­als that are not sus­tain­able, and in some instances can take up to 100 years to com­pletely break down. Conventional cof­fee cups are non– recy­clable, mean­ing they end up in our land­fills, parks, and oceans. With Americans con­sum­ing over 20 bil­lion cof­fee cups, can you imag­ine the impact that could make if cafés would switch to com­postable cups that will fully break down in less than a year? Leave the old in the past, com­posta­bles are the future.
Submitted by Alonso Ortega, Sales Manager at Pacific Green Products, 
www.PacificGreenProducts.com

Also…

When we did our study for Carbon Trust cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, we found that despite what would seem to be a com­mon sense answer to avoid­ing sin­gle use table­ware, like using a ceramic mug and rewash­ing it, the car­bon foot­print of the mug was much higher in terms of car­bon emis­sions. Once you cal­cu­late in how much energy is being con­sumed to first make the ceramic or steel mug at the fac­tory, which is a very large amount; then the repeated wash­ing with the req­ui­site energy for water pump­ing, heat­ing the water, clean­ing the water; and the man­u­fac­tur­ing of the soaps and the trans­port of them; the car­bon emis­sions for a 100% pct biobased or bioresin com­postable hot cup was much, much lower. It even sur­prised us.
Submitted by Buzz Chandler, President of Asean Corporation (Stalkmarket, Planet+ and Jaya brands), www.stalkmarketproducts.com

Tip # 6– Don’t set­tle with only the cup – offer a com­postable lid to go with it!
Ask your­self, does it make sense to serve your cus­tomer a com­postable hot bev­er­age cup topped with a poly­styrene lid? Avoid the petro­leum alto­gether! Biodegradable Food Service offers an attrac­tive kraft cup lined with a bio-based inner coat­ing, capped with an equally attrac­tive bam­boo fiber lid, all of which com­prises a 100% com­postable drink pack­age. We call it the Earth Cup.
Submitted by Kevin Duffy, CEO of Biodegradable Food Service, LLC, www.Earth-To-Go.com

Tip # 7 – Reduce power con­sump­tion and save money with a Green Line espresso machine.
Let’s face it, we all know you’re sup­posed to leave your espresso machine turned on, but what about your power bill? The first born of our Green Line, Plus 4 You, dra­mat­i­cally reduces power con­sump­tion with its standby and night­time shut­down modes. The self-learning soft­ware can opti­mize the energy sav­ings by pow­er­ing down part of the machine dur­ing slow peri­ods as well. Compared to a tra­di­tional espresso machine, the Plus 4 You grants energy sav­ings from 30% to 47.6%.
Submitted by Courtney Baber, Sales & Marketing, Astoria/General Espresso Equipment, www.usa.astoria.com

Tip # 8 – Create your menus, gift cards, brochures, sig­nage, and busi­ness cards out of recy­cled mate­r­ial.
As a highly vis­i­ble and tac­tile prod­uct, Kona Paper offers many easy and sim­ple ways for cafés to cre­ate more mean­ing­ful mes­sages about the envi­ron­ment that really res­onate with cus­tomers. Since the paper is made out of recy­cled cof­fee bean bag fiber, the mere men­tion of Kona Paper’s “story” as a tagline on a menu, table tent, gift card/gift card­holder or bag vis­i­bly demon­strates your café’s com­mit­ment to going green. More impor­tantly, using Kona Paper pos­i­tively repur­poses a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the cof­fee industry’s waste stream in a fresh, new way.
Submitted by Greg Johnson,Sales & Marketing Vice President of Kona Paper, 
www.konapaper.com

Tip # 9 – Acquire the ade­quate ice­maker to reduce util­ity con­sump­tion.
Use Chewblet® ice­mak­ers to reduce util­ity con­sump­tion. In addi­tion to pro­vid­ing consumer-preferred ice, Chewblet ice­mak­ers will con­sume up to 25% less elec­tric­ity and up to 40% less water com­pared to tra­di­tional cube-type ice­mak­ers, depend­ing on the size of the machine. Upgrading, old inef­fi­cient ice­mak­ers to cur­rent stan­dards is usu­ally a good choice from a util­ity con­sump­tion per­spec­tive.
Submitted by Mike Rice, Senior Product Marketing Manager of Follett Corporation, 
www.follettice.com

Tip # 10 – Seek to make part­ner­ships with pro­duc­ers and pur­chase green cof­fee from farms that sup­port sus­tain­able prac­tices.
A green cup of cof­fee starts with the grower. Supporting farms that pro­mote green agri­cul­tural prac­tices, and pay­ing farm­ers a bet­ter price for their cof­fee will not only have a ben­e­fi­cial effect on the envi­ron­ment, but on com­mu­ni­ties and fam­i­lies as well. The Doi Chaang Coffee Company has a unique part­ner­ship between the Akha hill­side tribe of Doi Chang Village, located in the Chiang Rai Province of Northern Thailand, and a small Canadian group of cof­fee enthu­si­asts. The Thai farm­ing fam­ily co-operative cul­ti­vate and process 100% Arabica, organic, single-origin cof­fee beans while the Canadian experts roast, mar­ket and dis­trib­ute the cof­fee.
The cof­fee is cul­ti­vated in small fam­ily gar­dens with every­one com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture and hav­ing min­i­mal impact on the nat­ural habi­tat. Doi Chaang Coffee is labeled “Going Beyond Fair Trade” because the farm­ers are paid in excess of the price rec­om­mended by the Fair Trade Organization for their green beans. In addi­tion, the Thai farm­ers have a 50% reg­is­tered own­er­ship in the Canadian com­pany, Doi Chaang Coffee Company, which is funded 100% by the Canadian Group.
Submitted by John M. Darch, President and CEO of Doi Chaang Coffee Company, www.doichaangcoffee.com

Taking the nec­es­sary steps to “go green” will have pos­i­tive effects not only on the envi­ron­ment, but on your prof­its as well. Inform your cus­tomers about your efforts on going green; you might be sur­prised by the pos­i­tive response you get from the pub­lic. While this should not be your pri­mary moti­va­tion on sup­port­ing the mat­ter, it can be a ben­e­fi­cial side effect. People are always look­ing to sup­port a cause, and going green is one that is widely rec­og­nized. By offer­ing eco-friendly prod­ucts and show­ing con­sumers your efforts, you will strengthen your cus­tomer loy­alty and enlarge your clien­tele. Furthermore, engage your employ­ees in you efforts to go green. Ask them for ways you can reduce waste, use resources more effi­ciently, and save money. Every com­pany should con­stantly strive to improve not only their busi­ness prac­tices but their com­mu­nity and envi­ron­ment as well. Make a dif­fer­ence, one green cup at a time.