I can't forget the images from June 2018, when a male pilot whale died in a canal in Thailand. As the whale floated in the canal, volunteers with umbrellas tried shielding him from the sun. The necropsy revealed the whale had swallowed 80 plastic trash bags. If plastic bags are killing the largest mammals on the planet what are they doing to the smallest?
So what does this have to do with coffee? Maybe nothing, maybe everything, primarily it's about accepting responsibility and trying to find a solution to cut down on the mountains of trash created every day. Consequently, I think about all the plastic bags I use in both locations. I think about ways on how to cut down on bags and the trash that goes into them. No easy solution comes to mind.
Like most people I hold a particular set of expectations about how a product should be packaged and how that package should look. For instance I tried returning the heavy cardboard boxes for reuse to our roastery. "Thanks, but no thanks" was the response. Storage in restaurants is always at a premium and the exterior of the boxes invariability got scuffed, stained or soiled. Not to the point of being functionally unusable but certainly not worthy of representing a brand. Like so many people, I am guilty of assuming if the packaging is compromised, the product inside is as well. So rather than recycle or reuse, we grab new stuff off the shelf.
Eight months ago I made a commitment to use compostable straws and take out containers. After some early struggles, I found local sources for these items at reasonable prices. Often, I need to order these online. Obviously, online ordering create another set of issues that involves trucking them from a distant warehouse. Ironically, I end up with boxes packaged in boxes to hold the boxes of compostable straws.
So my next attempt at saving the planet is to cut down on paper and plastic cups by encouraging the use of reusable cups. So if you bring a reusable cup from home, we will wash it and serve your drink in it - plus I'll give you a discount. I don't know if I can save a whale, but I want to try.