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Greetings Event Issue
Celebrate International Coffee Day with TGB Charity and Circular&Co

International Coffee Day takes place on October 1 every year. Celebrating the journey from tropical Africa to the cups of over 1 billion people all over the world. Coffee is the world’s most popular drink worldwide with over 2 billion cups consumed daily, it is also one of the most valuable and widely traded tropical agricultural products in the world. We don’t exactly know when humans first began consuming coffee, but the most popular story involves some happy goats.

According to historical records, coffee is originally from Ethiopia and its discovery in Africa comes with an interesting story. Around the 700s AD, a herd of goats started acting weirdly energetic after eating the berries from a certain tree that they did not want to sleep at night. Their owner Kaldi reported his findings to the abbot of the local monastery who made a drink with the berries and found that it kept him alert through the long hours of evening prayers. As words moved east and coffee reached the Arabian Peninsula, the journey of these beans started to begin. 

Coffee, Climate, Waste

Coffee is a morning ritual for many people around the world, it helps you wake up, gives you energy and the aroma is just hard to resist. However, you might be surprised to find out that it is actually bad for the climate and environment. Coffee comes in the top 10 of the worst foods for greenhouse gas emissions, just behind beef, lamb, cheese, and chocolate. Coffee produces a whopping 17kg of greenhouse gases per kilogram produced, that’s actually a lot for our favorite morning drink. The majority of spent coffee grounds are dumped into general waste and sent to landfills where they emit methane – a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period, and one of the primary causes of global warming. 

Over 66% of people in the US still use disposable cups and plates until this day. In the US alone, approximately 50 billion cups were used per year. The majority of these cups are not recyclable due to the polyethylene coating inside the cups that stick to the paper and is recognized as a contaminant. There are debates on whether or not we have the technology to process them, simply put, it is just not economically viable for businesses to do so. These cups are instead discarded in landfills becoming a massive waste that just sits there for decades. 

A Sustainable Business Model

To tackle the current crises on climate and pollution, reinforcing circular economy is a vital part of the solution. The aim of the circular economy is to make the most of the resources available to us by applying three basic principles: reduce, reuse and recycle. This way the life cycle of products is extended, waste is used and a more sustainable production model is established over time. A circular economy emphasizes that everything has value and that even waste can become a new resource so that the balance between progress and sustainability is maintained.

Take coffee cups, for example, a circular production model means regenerating used things into new components and at the end of their lifespan, they get recycled again - nothing lost, nothing wasted. We’re so used to throwing away things because it’s convenient for us and we get to use ‘new’ ones every day. The throwaway culture encourages customers to view products as disposable and easily replaceable and encourages businesses to manufacture products with low-cost labor and materials. This needs to end and it starts with every one of us. 

Turning Trash into Treasure

The truth is, spent coffee grounds and single-use cups that are dumped into landfills still have so much more value to harvest. Spent coffee grounds are great for fertilizing gardens, repelling insects and pests, and neutralizing odors. Companies are also making products out of spent coffee grounds and disposable cups, like Rens world’s first coffee sneakers made from spent coffee grounds, and Circular&Co world’s first reusable coffee cups made from recycled paper cups.

This #InternationalCoffeeDay, we’ve decided to invite some of our staff who drink coffee from single-use cups on a daily basis to participate in an experiment. We will have them carry the Circular&Co Reusable Coffee Cups and provide feedback - the pros and cons, as well as the feeling of becoming part of the sustainability solution. 

If you are still using disposable cups, join us in the experiment and contribute to a sustainable solution to global waste. Pick a reusable cup you love, bring it with you and see how it goes! Follow TGB Charity Instagram account for more updates on the experiment and learn more about your favorite drink.


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