8 Easy Changes To Make Your Café More Sustainable

A guide to helping make environmentally friendly choices in your coffee shop.
Children holding hands in a circle with a recycle emblem in the grass at their feet
More than ever, coffee shops now have to have eco-responsible practices that help make your café more sustainable. Customers are more aware now than ever of the carbon footprints of businesses. Here we’ve outlined some quick tips to make sure you are doing everything you can to be an earth friendly café. Cupper’s Coffee & Tea has spent almost 30 years keeping our environmental impact low. We also work with our wholesale customers to lower their carbon footprints as much as we can assist with.
Did you know that at Cupper’s, we make over 100 cups of to-go beverages in our little store every day? And this isn’t considered a lot of drinks for some stores! Even though our drink service is small we try to serve eco-responsible coffee in-store.

Drink Containers

Many of our to-go drink containers (cold cups, lids, java jackets, and straws!) are  compostable. We are always working to source the very best single use cups and lids that are easy on the environment. Have your coffee shop make the switch to compostable drink containers to cut back on landfill that can’t be recovered.

Bring Your Own Cup

When our customers bring in their own mug or cup and order a drink, they get an instant discount. This discount helps limit the amount of disposable cups we use on drinks. It’s an excellent way to make your café more sustainable.
Starting a reusable cup program also cuts down your café costs. This is a huge win-win for any coffee shop owner! As an added bonus for both us and our customers, we stock and sell many different kinds of travel mugs. We’ll even wash them if the customer wants to buy and use it right away.

Bring Your Own Bag

an assorted pile of Cupper's new recyclable green retail coffee bags

Rather than keep using new bags, we get our customers to re-use their retail coffee bags. We offer the customer a small discount when they get brought in for re-filling. It’s simple, and saves them a small amount each time. We can reuse our bags as long as the sealable zip still works (though we don’t heat-seal them again). 

Customers can also bring in their own reusable container. Airscape? Can? Bucket? Jar? We’ll fill anything that fits under our grinder, or that can take whole beans. We encourage stores that sell our coffee to do the same.

Reduce Coffee Packaging

Cupper's 5 lb black coffee bag to Make Your Café More Sustainable

A few years ago, we discontinued our wholesale boxes of individual coffee portion-packs. We encouraged our wholesale customers to buy 5 pound bags of coffee instead. Instead of packaging each pot of ground coffee, our wholesale coffee is now packaged in larger bags. The reduction in cost and packaging is significant for both us and the café.

Thoughtful Tea Packaging

All the teas that we carry are micro-plastic free. If a tea has plastic in any of its packaging, including as part of the tea bag, we won’t bring it in. We buy tea packed only in recyclable or compostable materials. We also have a large selection of reusable tea filters, tea balls, and loose leaf tea. Many of our tea mugs and pots also have built-in screen filters that work with loose tea. Using loose-leaf tea cuts the need for single-use tea bags all together.

Shopping Bags

a Because Coffee and Bad Coffee reusable shopping bags at Cuppers to Make Your Café More Sustainable
We replaced our single-use plastic bags with recycled kraft paper bags. So now, there’s no more plastic used only to carry your coffee from the car to your house. Our wholesale partners are following suit, and our customers love them. They’re durable enough, they can use them for themselves else later, too.
We also offer reusable shopping totes available for sale. We also are happy to encourage customers to bring in their own reusable shopping bags. This way, they can help make your café more sustainable!

Strawless Sip Lids

Cold cup and sippy lid with frappe on the cupper's counter

To cut down on single use plastics (even biodegradable ones) we have switched to a new cold cup sip lid. This new lid requires no straw to drink from. It has been a huge hit for customers who are becoming more aware of environmental issues. These lids are available through our wholesale department.

Alternative Milks

More and more people are making the switch to plant based milks. The reason for this is the amount of resources required in making dairy milk. Dairy milk creates more greenhouse gasses than plant based milk alternatives. Dairy also requires more land and water to produce. Cupper’s has a large selection of plant based milks to substitute in your drinks.

Make Your Café More Sustainable - KISS!

These are a few simple changes that you can make to your café to be more environmental. Environmental concerns may have seemed small, but now it’s more in the front lines than ever. Being conscious of your environmental impact doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult.
Often it means engaging your customers to be a part of the solution. We’ve found that our customers appreciate being able to give feedback and support. And we appreciate them right back for it!
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