As a small coffee shop we produce enough trash to give Santa a herniated disc. I haven’t actually weighed it out but this is a rough estimate of how much incoming, internal, and outgoing garbage we create depending on how many guests we serve.
I’m not going to go into the reason WHY minimizing our waste is necessary – I’m pretty sure you understand the issue by now.
So what have we done about this?
On the outgoing side; some of the steps we took were passive and fairly easy – like not buying straws and plastic lids for the plastic cups – and other steps have been more aggressive. These other steps were very visible and took a herculean effort to implement – specifically the jars and compostable cups.
The biggest pain (yes PAIN) was financial. The difference in prices is approximately four to six times for cups and almost eight times as much from bags to jars. So unless you are starbucks or running a cafe with laundered money – these types of new expenses leave a dent in your operating budget.
Spending money wasn’t the entire solution to solve our waste problem – it was just one ingredient. Creativity was (and is) the other component – because after those costs we depleted a good junk of our cash.
To counterbalance the use of compostable cups I went to the flea market and bought a bunch of gold rimmed porcelain German cups, encouraging people to have their drink on the spot rather than “to go”.
With the jars, from the start we intended on making them reusable, so the labels were designed specifically to accommodate (and encourage) our clients to return with the jars – almost gamifying the whole process.
Using what internal waste we had; we actually created a whole new entity – CW Star Wars Company, which is owned and operated my by kids. One of the products they produce and sell is Body Scrub by mixing the used coffee grounds with a few simple ingredients (watch this cute video)
The biggest challenge remains on the incoming trash – by reusing shipping boxes, repurposing large coffee sacs, and upcycling pallets we’ve saved money while accentuating the ‘DIY’/’artisanal’ feel of the G Coffee brand.
All that being said – there are more changes that can be made and it’ll take a while before we can afford those shifts (i.e. aluminum cans for 500g & 1kg packages) but with time, resources, and a LOT of creativity we’ll find ways to reduce our own unique footprint.
If you’ve made some creative and original changes yourself – we’d love to hear about them and if you don’t mind we could implement them on our side as well. Contact us with what you’ve done and if possible send a few photos or even a video!