I have a caffeine addiction. Not the slightly jittery but still productive cute caffeine addiction that many of us enjoy, either. But that is beside the point. The point is, my habit could undermine my attempt to go zero waste.
I’m now geared up to go zero waste with coffee and tea.
I have a bulk bag for my local grocery store. There is only one brand of coffee sold loosely and it is weighed at checkout. I bring home whole beans and grind them, I put them in my French press while the electric tea kettle heats up the water.
My tea habit is a little more complicated at the moment as I search for a loose leaf green tea, but the best thing I’ve found was a metal tin with loose black tea.
In both cases, leaves and grounds go to my compost.
I actually discovered that my not so cute caffeine addiction was contributing to my digestive disorders. So if coffee “makes you poop” or if you experience abdominal discomfort around the time that you consume caffeine, you too should look into it.
That said, for the majority, caffeine is relatively harmless and easy to make into a zero waste habit. I’m by no means “against” coffee.
However, since turning to herbal tisane concoctions (often referred to as “herbal tea”), I’m having trouble with creating a more zero waste approach. For example, a celestial seasonings tea bag is compostable and the cardboard box is recyclable, but to keep the tea fresh, they wrap the box in a thin layer of plastic. Also, it may be difficult to find whether the wax on the wax paper is organic or petroleum based which affects whether or not the paper is compostable.
In the future, I may explore steeping my own garden herbs (such as peppermint or chamomile) in my tea pot and even drying herbs for use in the winter, but for now (during pregnancy and lactation) I’d like to play it “safe”.
Another option herbal tea drinkers may have is to buy in bulk. I did see that my “local” bulk store did sell some herbal teas package free so this may also be available to you.
How About You?
How do you contend with multiple issues such as local availability vs travel waste, low waste vs organics, and other issues that can make the perfect product seem elusive? Do you find yourself consuming less when the availability of certain criteria shrinks?
Until next time, keep that talk walking!