Coffee Sustainability: Starbucks ups sustainability. Coffee waste for restoring forests.

We typically don’t give much thought about coffee outside of drinking it, so I thought it was interesting how else coffee impacts the world, from its waste being used to recover forest land, and Starbucks cycling out plastic cups. Starbucks has just rolled out a reusable cup program, in which you pay a $1 deposit for any reusable cup; you can then return it for a $1 credit and 10 Bonus Stars for each. Obviously, the cups that are returned are cleaned. Starbucks plans on completely eliminating their plastic cups by 2025.

Over half of the coffee berry is discarded, with the actual coffee bean making up less than half of the berry.

Meanwhile, via a story at Nat Geo, researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa have experimented with coffee waste. This waste, coffee pulp (the flesh of the unused coffee berries), was used to see if it could potentially revive native Costa Rica vegetation on land that was deeply exploited (for cattle or farming) and abandoned, left to choke by the blades of invasive grasses. Land plots treated with the coffee waste showed substantial improvement compared to untreated land plots; 80% of the treated plot being covered by young canopy (native tree species), and only 20% for the untreated plot.

Coffee is love, coffee is life, and coffee is green.