Sustainability and eco-friendliness are important to the health of our planet, so making your business more eco-friendly is a fantastic thing to do. Not only does it help the planet, but it can also help attract customers, as those who support sustainability are more likely to support businesses that do as well!
Here are five tips to help make your coffee shop more sustainable:
Compost your waste
Offer reusable containers
Find energy-saving appliances
Offer digital receipts
Compost your waste
Composting is a process in which you take organic material that you no longer are using, and you turn this material into fertilizer.
This process not only reduces the amount of waste that fills landfills but also gives those who are growing plants a source of fertilizer, which promotes their growth and, in turn, creates a healthier world!
Some cities offer composting services for free or more often for a small fine.
If this isn’t offered, however, in your city, you can always find a local organization, group, or individual who would be more than willing to take the organic material you have in order to turn it into compost.
What can waste from a coffee shop be used in composting?
As we have already mentioned, composting requires you to use organic materials.
One of the most common waste products in a coffee shop just happens to be organic and is perfect for composting.
That waste product is none other than coffee grinds!
Through the process of brewing coffee, the beans eventually end up as coffee grinds one way or another.
Most coffee shops will throw their used coffee grinds away. But in reality, these coffee grinds can be composted to make great fertilizer, which will ultimately improve the sustainability of your coffee shop.
On top of coffee grinds, you can also compost any leftover fruit or even the by-products of fruits such as banana peels if your shop offers them.
There are coffee shops that offer fruit smoothies, so if your coffee shop happens to fall into this category, you can toss any and all of the by-products, such as banana peels, into your compost!
Offer reusable containers
Reusable containers pr cups are something that many other shops are starting to offer.
Some of these shops are offering these reusable containers as a way of cutting their costs by reducing the number of cups they need in their inventory.
But another great result of offering reusable containers is a reduction in the amount of waste that you are going to produce!
How does a reusable cup service work?
While the idea of offering reusable cups is simple enough, you may still not be entirely sure if it’s for you or your business.
But before you make that decision, let’s go through how a reusable cup service works!
First, if you plan on offering reusable cups to your customers as an option, you have to advertise it.
You can do this by printing posters and placing them along with both the interior and exterior of your business.
You should also remind customers that you are offering reusable cups when they order to ensure that they know.
One of the benefits to the customers of using a reusable cup is that you can offer them a discount when they do!
Not only are they making your business more eco-friendly in doing so, but they are also reducing your inventory costs as a result.
How much of a discount you offer as a result of using a reusable cup is completely up to you, but you want to offer enough of a discount to where it’s worth it to the customers but not too much of a discount as to where it hurts your business.
All in all, a reusable cup service can make your business much more eco-friendly by reducing waste that would normally come in the form of disposable cups!
Find energy-saving appliances
Operating a coffee shop is going to require a significant amount of energy in the form of electricity.
Most of this electricity comes in the form of appliances like refrigerators and freezers, coffee makers, cappuccino machines, espresso machines, as well a few others.
Using this large amount of electricity is not very eco-friendly, but it’s pretty much impossible, or at least very difficult, to operate a coffee shop without these appliances.
Thus, one possible solution is to simply look for appliances that are considered to be eco-friendly!
Where can I find energy-saving appliances?
Believe it or not, energy-saving appliances are available at just about every shop that offers traditional appliances!
You can also scour the internet for these types of appliances if your local appliance shop doesn’t offer them themselves.
It is important to note that you may not be able to find an energy-saving version of every appliance.
But simply replacing what you can with an energy-saving version can be very impactful.
It is also important to note that energy-saving appliances may cost a bit more upfront, but in the long run, they will save you money by reducing your energy costs.
Check out this gadgets coffee lovers must have HERE.
Shopping local is something that many people encourage for a wide variety of reasons.
First of all, you are boosting your local economy by investing in other businesses around you.
This not only strengthens that business but also strengthens the bond that you share with these other local businesses.
On top of that, it will also likely encourage others in your neighborhood to go to your shop as they know their money is going to circulate in their neighborhood further.
But what’s most important for us here is that shopping locally can make your business more eco-friendly.
How does shopping local make your business more eco-friendly?
Shopping local makes your business more eco-friendly for one major reason.
That reason is that by shopping local, you are decreasing the distance which the supplies you are purchasing have to travel.
Because most supplies in the US are transported via semi-trucks that use a significant amount of gasoline, by decreasing this distance, you are saving the gas that would be required to travel from wherever you are ordering those supplies from.
In doing so, you are also causing a significant decrease in the amount of CO2 emissions that would come as a result of transporting the supplies from a much further distance.
You may even be fortunate enough that the person whom you are ordering from locally is close enough that the supplies can be delivered in a way that creates zero carbon emission, such as if they walked the boxes down to your coffee shop.
Offer digital receipts
For many people, myself included, receipts at places such as coffee shops are not really something that they want to keep or even want to take.
There are, of course, others who do want their receipts for every purchase. Whether it is for tax purposes, as the coffee was a business expense or some other reason, it’s understandable.
Receipts, however, can add up in the amount of paper they use, most of which will likely end up in the garbage.
Now you may be thinking that customers can simply recycle their receipts when they are done with them.
This, however, is not an option most of the time as receipts are printed on thermal paper and are therefore not recyclable.
One way you can help to reduce the amount of waste through receipts and, in doing so, become more eco-friendly is to offer digital receipts as an option in addition to regular receipts or no receipts.
For those who want a receipt, digital receipts should serve their purposes just as well as a traditional paper receipt.
You may still have some who prefer a paper receipt, but all in all, you will reduce the amount of waste that giving our paper receipts to everyone will cause.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are some areas that are going to put a higher priority on eco-friendly businesses, and it’s these cities that you want to try to get into as an eco-friendly coffee shop.
Most of the cities on this list are on the West Coast, so you may want to consider moving in that direction if you aren’t already there.
Top 5 most eco-friendly US cities:
San Franciso, California
San Diego, California
If you are looking to open an eco-friendly coffee shop, you can greatly consider moving to one of these cities.
A business being eco-friendly does not negate its ability to be profitable.
While yes, there are some extra measures you take that make your business eco-friendly that may increase your costs, simply being eco-friendly is also likely to draw in more customers.
Generally, these two will negate each other, and in order to be a successful coffee shop, you have to do everything a normal coffee shop does to succeed.
That, of course, being advertising, customers retention, and all the other important aspects of business success.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Hi! I’m Shawn Chun
My adventure in coffee began when I first launched my first coffee shop back in the early 2000s. I had to figure out so many things on my own and to make it worse within 2 years of opening two large corporate coffee chains moved in just blocks away from me!
As I saw smaller and even some larger coffee shops in the neighborhood slowly lose customers to these giant coffee chains and slowly close up shop, I knew that I had to start getting creative…or go out of business.
I (like you may be) knew the coffee industry well. I could make the best latte art around and the foam on my caps was the fluffiest you have ever seen. I even had the best state-of-the-art 2 group digital Nuova Simonelli machine money could buy. But I knew that these things alone would not be enough to lure customers away from the name brand established coffee shops.
Eventually, through lots of trial and error as well as perseverance and creativity I did find a way to not only survive but also thrive in the coffee/espresso industry even while those corporate coffee chains stayed put. During those years I learned to adapt and always faced new challenges. It was not always easy, however, in the end, I was the sole survivor independent coffee shop within a 10-mile radius of my location. Just two corporate coffee chains and I were left after that year. All told the corporate coffee chains took down over 15 small independent coffee shops and kiosks and I was the last one standing and thriving.
Along the years I meet others with the same passion for coffee and I quickly learned that it is not only “how good a barista is” that makes a coffee shop successful, but the business side of coffee as well.
Hence why I started this website you are on now. To provide the tools and resources for up and coming coffee shop owners to gain that vital insight and knowledge on how to start a coffee shop successfully.
Stick around, browse through my helpful blog and resources and enjoy your stay! With lots of LATTE LOVE!