Reusable Coffee Cups and Filters Worth The Hassle?

CC Flickr photo courtesy of robertbanh
Coffee is an integral part of daily life around the globe.  Many of us can’t get through the day without a cup or two of coffee.  Unfortunately, all these cups of coffee can lead to lots of waste.  In fact, disposable paper cups and paper coffee filters have become the norm, despite the consequences to our environment.
Just imagine the number of paper coffee cups thrown away each day.  This year in the US alone, an estimated 23 billion paper coffee cups will be used.  That translates to a lot of unnecessary waste.  In fact, the US puts 363 million pounds of coffee cups into landfills each year.
Fortunately, this shocking trend can be reversed by adopting reusable coffee cups and coffee filters.
Reusable Coffee Cups
Reusable coffee cups can help to prevent the filling of our landfills.  They also reduce the need for felling trees, manufacturing paper cups, and then shipping these cups all over the world.  The amount of energy and waste produced by paper cups is staggering!
Reusable coffee cups make a real difference, and there are many cool designs from which to choose.  One popular option is the ceramic coffee mug that looks identical to a regular paper to-go cup, complete with fitted lid.  This is a perfect companion for regular coffee shop visitors.
Reusable cups made from steel and plastic are popular too.  Steel mugs have the longest lifespan. Plastic mugs made from corn offer an environmentally friendly alternative to regular petroleum-based plastics– and these corn-based plastics can even be composted!
Reusable Coffee Filters
Making coffee at home is a great way to use fewer paper coffee cups, but paper coffee filters fill our landfills too.  In addition, bleached coffee filters could transmit unhealthy chemicals to your coffee.
Many unbleached paper filters can be composted, which is a good start.  But to really make a difference, the switch to reusable filters is ideal.  Permanent filters made from steel are common, and they are easy to clean.  Gold Tone filters are perhaps the most expensive option, but these are said to interfere less with coffee’s flavor.
Cloth filters are worth considering too.  Many fabric filters made from unbleached cloth can be used repeatedly.  Although these filters are slightly more difficult to clean than permanent filters, they are more environmentally friendly than paper and easier to produce than permanent filters.
Switch to Resuable Coffee Cups and Reusable Coffee Filters to Make a Difference
Something as simple as a paper cup might not seem like a big deal, but if enough of us make the switch and begin reusing, we’ll significantly reduce our waste.  Of course, the philosophy of reusing can be applied to more than paper cups and filters, so be on the look out for other ways to live a greener life!