Barista Magazine

AUG-SEP 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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COFFEE IS A COMPLICATED, labor-intensive, and com- plex product that requires lots of energy to produce, process, and move around the world. Not only that, each step in the chain generates massive amounts of waste. Let's face it—to be environmentally friendly in our industry can seem like an uphill battle. However, no matter where you look, whether it's the coffee aisle of mainstream grocery stores, or the showrooms at specialty trade shows, there are countless examples of the strides we're making in the social, economic, and environmental issues that face our industry. One concern we can tackle at the shop level is cur- tailing the amount of waste cafés produce. You might be surprised by how the seemingly insignifi cant choices you make every day can add up to have a huge impact. Understanding the "Zero Waste" concept As the name implies, "zero waste" is a philosophy with the goal of producing absolutely no trash, while at the same time minimizing recycling and composting. Going zero waste requires modifying your everyday habits and behaviors to closely emulate natural sustainable cycles. This entails avoiding single-use and disposable items at all costs. Becoming absolutely zero waste takes practice and planning, but we can dive right into reducing how much waste we produce in our cafés by referencing the "Zero Waste Hierar- chy," which is defi ned as "a progression of policies and strategies to support the Zero Waste system, from highest and best to lowest use of materials. It enhances the Zero Waste defi nition by providing guidance for planning and a way to evaluate proposed solutions." It outlines the four Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot (composting). Reducing our overall consumption should be the fi rst priority, but when we do need to purchase goods, they should be reusable and of high quality, so they'll last. If something can't be reused, we should only then choose something that is recycla- ble or compostable. Reducing and reusing in your café Take a look around your café and consider what can be changed from a disposable option to a reusable one. A good fi rst step is to phase out disposable cups in favor of glass or porcelain. You can even use this strategy to your advantage by developing your own unique in-house experience. For example, Slate Coffee Roasters in Seattle offers multicourse tableside service with specifi c glassware for each course. "We wanted to create a cocktail-bar experience with a focus on black coffee," says Keenan Walker, co-owner of Slate. The glassware was specifi cally chosen "to bring the guest closer to the beverage and to bring attention to the range of colors that brewed coffee takes on. Serving a majority of our coffee in glassware is more work than ceramics or to-go cups; however, we think the benefi ts greatly overshadow the drawbacks." Keenan notes how Slate still accommodates customers ordering drinks to go, but have found that those customers come back on the weekends to have their drink to stay, enjoying the coffee experience and the social atmosphere Slate's Ballard location encourages. If you think reusable glassware won't fi t your existing shop's aesthetic, you might be pleasantly surprised. Andy Dispun of Phanny's in Redondo Beach, Calif., wanted to bring his pas- sion for third-wave coffee to his family's fast-food diner. Here, porcelain cups and saucers are right at home alongside breakfast burritos and burgers on bright-red reusable lunch trays. Creative Understanding plastics by the numbers YOU'VE SEEN THE "CHASING ARROWS" symbol on plastic cups, containers, and other products, but don't think for a second they mean the product is recyclable. Inside each triangle is a number—1 through 7—that tells the whole story. The purpose of the number is to identify the type of plastic used for that product because, as we know, not all plastics are recyclable or even reusable. In fact, there are numerous plastic-based products that can neither break down nor be recycled. The better you understand the implications of each number, the better equipped you'll be to make sustainable purchasing decisions for your café. "For example, water bottles that display a 3 or a 5 cannot be recycled in most jurisdictions in the United States. A 3 indicates that the water bottle has been made from polyvinyl chloride, and a 5 means that it's been made of polypropylene, which are two materials that are not accepted by most public recycling centers," says Greg Seaman of Learn Earth Easy. Plastic code 1: PET, or Polyethylene Terephthalate Common uses: Soda bottles, water bottles, shampoo bottles, mouthwash bottles, peanut butter jars. Products made of #1 (PET) plastic should be recycled but not reused. Plastic code 2: PE-HD, or High-Density Polyethylene Common uses: Milk, water, and juice jugs, detergent bottles, yogurt and margarine tubs, grocery bags, cereal box liners. Products made of #2 (PE-HD) are reusable and recyclable. Plastic code 3: PVC, or Polyvinyl Chloride Common uses: Clear food packaging, shampoo bottles, shrink wrap. Products made of #3 (PVC) are not recyclable. While some PVC products can be repurposed, PVC products should not be reused for applications with food or for children's use. Plastic code 4: PE-LD, or Low-Density Polyethylene Common uses: Bread bags, frozen food bags, squeezable bottles (mustard, honey, etc.), newspaper bags, produce bags, "paper" milk cartons. Products made of #4 (PE-LD) are reusable , but not always recyclable. You need to check with your local collection service to see if they accept PE-LD plastic items for recycling. Plastic code 5: PP, or Polypropylene Common uses: Ketchup bottles, yogurt and margarine tubs, deli food containers. Products made of #5 (PP) are considered safe for reuse. To recycle products made from PP, check with your local curbside program to see if they are now accepting this material. Plastic code 6: PS, or Polystyrene (also popularly known as Styrofoam) Common uses: Food containers, vending cups, meat trays, egg cartons, plates, packing peanuts. Products made of #6 (PS) should be avoided wherever possible. Plastic code 7: O, or Bisphenol A and others Common uses: Ketchup, 3- and 5-gallon water bottles, some juice bottles. #7 plastics are not for reuse, unless they have PLA com- postable coding. When possible, it is best to avoid #7 plastics, especially for children's food. 102 barista magazine

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