Coffee Filters: Saving the World One Cup at a Time
By Wendy Gabriel
GREEN TIP: Use a permanent coffee filter instead of a paper filter. Your coffee will taste better and you will be saving the environment, and money, at the same time.
Do you remember when you purchased your last coffee maker? Do you remember seeing a black and gold permanent coffee filter? It was probably tucked into your filter holder along with a few sample paper filters. I’ve seen them. Many of them. I often asked myself, “Why would anyone use this? Wouldn’t it be a little messy?” Then I started to wonder about the environmental impact of paper filters.
The white paper filter has been bleached with chlorine or chlorine compounds. When these chemicals react to wood pulp (used to make paper products), they release a variety of chlorinated toxins called dioxin. Dioxin is not our friend.
I have been using my permanent coffee filter for about three years. The paper filters for my coffee maker cost approximately $4 for a box of 100. Making one pot per day, that works out to a savings of roughly $44.00 and 1100 filters. More importantly, however, are the reductions in the use of wood, chemicals and energy.
Recently I got some great advice on how to reuse our coffee grounds from noted environmentalist Adam Shake at Twilight Earth:
- Soften and add shine to hair. When washing your hair, rub coffee grounds through wet hair and rinse. For brown hair, coffee grounds add highlights.
- Fertilize plants. Old coffee grounds are nutrient-rich for plants that thrive in an acidic soil.
- Deodorize a freezer. Place a bowl with used coffee grounds in the freezer to remove unwanted odors. Add a few drops of vanilla to coffee grounds.
- Add used coffee grounds to the pots of indoor plants.
- Work used coffee grounds into your garden soil before seed planting. After your plants start to emerge, work in coffee grounds near the plants. Used coffee grounds are said to repel snails and slugs as well as adding nutrients to the soil.
- Use coffee grounds to repel ants.
- Keep cats from using your garden as a kitty box. Spread used coffee grounds and orange peels throughout flower beds.
For more great ways to use old coffee grounds, read Green Daily’s 21 Ways to Use Old Coffee Grounds.
It’s the little things we do that can really make a big difference.