What is the environmental impact of the coffee trade?

The coffee industry is a large and global industry, with coffee being one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. According to the International Coffee Organization, in 2020, global coffee production was estimated at around 167.7 million 60-kg bags (around 10.06 billion pounds).

The environmental impact of coffee production and disposal of coffee grounds and filters is significant. The disposal of coffee grounds and filters can contribute to several environmental issues, including waste generation and pollution.

  • Waste generation: According to some estimates, in 2020, around 16 billion single-use coffee capsules (such as K-cups) were discarded in the United States alone. This equates to around 9,000 tons of waste.
  • Carbon footprint: The production and transportation of coffee and coffee filters contribute to the overall carbon footprint. According to a study by the University of Bath, the carbon footprint of coffee production is around 4% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Water consumption: Coffee production requires a large amount of water, with estimates suggesting that it takes around 140 liters of water to produce one cup of coffee.
  • Deforestation: The expansion of coffee production can lead to deforestation, as natural habitats are cleared to make way for coffee farms.
  • Soil degradation: The use of pesticides and fertilizers in coffee production can lead to soil degradation and loss of biodiversity.

Overall, the coffee industry has a significant environmental impact, particularly in terms of waste generation, carbon footprint, water consumption, deforestation, and soil degradation. While there are sustainable practices that can reduce the environmental impact of the coffee industry, such as organic farming, agroforestry, and recycling, more effort and investment is needed to make it more sustainable.

Subscribe for Updates

Become part of our community where we share updates, promotions, recipes and lots of other good stuff!