The Rise of Sustainable Practices in Cafes

The Rise of Sustainable Practices in Cafes

June 11, 2024 0 By Zidane Lindsey

Environmental concerns about coffee production represent a key obstacle. Some farming practices can cause great damage through water and land depletion.

Eco-conscious diners are heading to cafes that serve up sustainable choices, from the oat milk and almond mylk for drinks to vegan lunches and vegetarian/vegan supper alternatives.

Energy-efficient appliances

If your concern is keeping carbon foot prints low and protecting our environment then energy efficient appliances could make sense. They use less electricity than traditional models, and will also help you cut down on your electricity bill.

Restaurants are known as huge energy gluttons, using anywhere from five to seven times that of other types of commercial buildings. So, any measures to make your restaurant more energy efficient not only reduces emissions, but also likely helps your restaurant compete against, say, hipster coffee shops.

First, move to LED lighting that uses up to 75 per cent less energy than most bulbs, replace air-conditioners with more efficient models, and roast coffee on-site for reduced energy in transport.

Biodegradable takeaway cups and packaging

For example, all of Nossa Familia’s coffees are sustainably sourced. When it comes to products, the company uses biodegradable cups and paper goods, reusable travel mugs and straws, and cutlery that comes from sustainable wood, PLA, china, or stainless steel. On the distribution side, the company uses five electric delivery cars to reduce fuel consumption.

One of the biggest sources of waste in cafés is the disposable takeaway cups. Some manage to reduce this by giving discounts to those customers who bring with them to their favorite café their own cup or mug, whereas others take matters even further than that, by completely eliminating disposable cups as a whole and instead offering glassware and tin tea bags as a reusable alternative.

Other green cafe solutions can include providing bottled water or coolers of water instead of single use plastic bottles, strategically reducing food waste and using energy efficient appliances.
Alternatively, cafes can host and promote events or workshops to their community around sustainability.

Local sourcing

Local sourcing means that the foods and beverages on your menu are generally grown, produced and sold within the same region that your restaurant is located in. These may be organically, sustainably or fair trade certified and can possess unusual flavours.

Locally purchased products mean less transport emissions and less waste, which create significantly much lower emissions. When shipping materials long distance, one needs to use more fuel and leave a frightening big carbon print, thus one can minimize these environmental effects by selecting manufacturers and suppliers with the lowest cost for emissions and waste productions.

The business benefits of local sourcing are that, if you use local independent sources of products, you increase the revenue from customers who go to eco-friendly businesses like yours. A stronger community economy is built as money is reinvested into the community from local manufacturers and suppliers. Another benefit of a local economy is that companies give back to their local environment via festivals, fundraisers or volunteer work. This will increase both their employee satisfaction ratings and reputation.

Upcycled furniture and decor

Thanks to the environment awareness that comes with the awareness of the climate crisis, cafés are making a bigger effort to take responsibility for the environmental footprint that lies beyond their bar. To do so, they provide compostable coffee cups for their customers and encourage them to use them; they use eco construction and furniture to decorate the café space.

Providing a warm atmosphere to your cafe, used wood and metal furniture could be the perfect way to combat the throwaway mentality while reducing your cafe’s carbon footprint. Besides, using recycled materials in its design could encourage the commission of new furniture pieces from small local businesses, therefore helping the local economy to flourish and promoting a sense of community.

Swapping a handful of plastic stirrers for washable spoons or upgrading to energy-efficient lights; these are tiny changes that might seem too small to make a difference, but which will dramatically reduce a café’s energy use while still allowing for a sufficient ambience to get lost in the ripples on your café latte.

Community involvement

cafés might also foster community beyond the act of promoting green habits by providing local artists, musicians or performers with space to display their works and support their local economies while also helping customers form a sense of place. This makes cafés more engaging for customers, increasing patron satisfaction as well.

Eco-friendly solutions to the coffee problem take many forms. Take, for example, plantable coasters on which you can plant herbs or flowers, or keepcups that, once bought, can be used over and over again to replace takeaway cups made of plastic. This kind of solution allows cafes to minimise their waste, but also gives them a chance to attract more eco-conscious consumers.

These cafes demonstrate that a ‘community cafe’ can do more than just dispensing coffee as a fast metabolism for high octane fuels. It can help build a sustainable world for everyone by doing its bit for good causes and its efforts to strengthen the community.