Eateries · Food · London

Do my favourite London cafés have a conscious?

I’ll be the first to stick my hands up that I was not consciously consuming this time last year, even this time last month. Probably not even fully now, but I am actively trying to make better decisions, no to plastic straws, carrying a thermos with me and choosing beauty products sans microbeads (this website has been hugely helpful)

These are just a few small steps that I’m learning and growing. But I want to be a part of the bigger movement to help the planet that we live off. One such way is actively asking.

So that’s what I have done.

I have gone to a few of our favourite coffee shops across London (many global) and asked what they are doing, if nothing this may move them in the right direction (spoiler, those that aren’t doing anything aren’t featured). But if they are, I’ve listed them below, with what they’re doing, just to make your choice of coffee that little bit more sustainable.

I have rated them on the sustainability of their coffee (i.e. fairtrade member), milk suppliers and any additional produce suppliers; recyclying facilities, reduction of plastics and non-recyclable materials and incentives to encourage reuse of travel mugs/bring your own.

Benugo (4/5)

These are one of my fave little lunch spots, with each cafe having the feel of an independent, but the spread of a corporation.

Sustainability:

  • Looking to move to a fully certified Rainforest Alliance bean by the end of 2017
  • All fruit & veg are supplied by a local farm
  • All of their milk is produced under the Red Tractor Scheme

Eco-friendly actions:

  • British suppliers, reducing travel/fuel use.
  • Customers who bring their own tumbler/cup receive a 10% discount
  • Removed plastic drinking cups
  • Only offer straws on request and are looking to move to paper straws

Caffe Nero (2/5)

The home of my favourite hot chocolate, a pretty damn delicious coffee that’s always hot, plus they’re dog friendly. So I’m a pretty big fan already.

Sustainability:

  • Although they aren’t a member of fairtrade and have a pretty vague statement on their website. They do appear to be engaging, by reviewing their recruitment purpose. So we’ll watch this space.
  • With regards to dairy all is from British farms and red tractor assured.

Eco-friendly actions:

  • British suppliers, reducing travel/fuel use.
  • One hundred and twenty two stores in London collecting used coffee grounds to create fuels for biomass boilers.

Costa (3/5)

A chain that have grown onto most high streets in the UK.

Sustainability:

  • The current takeaway cup made from sustainably sourced wood pulp.
  • With regards to dairy all is from British farms and red tractor assured.

Eco-friendly actions:

  • Over 2,000 stores collect and recycle any takeaway cups
  • Customers who bring their own tumbler/cup receive a 25p discount.
  • Many stores recycle organic waste and coffee grounds helping create renewable fuels.
  • Sourcing dairy from the UK reducing travel/fuel use

Starbucks (3.5/5)

The giant, found on every corner and consumed by so many of us. I mean I can’t say I’m not swayed by a PSL.

Sustainability:

  • Their coffee is sustainably sourced through fairtrade.

Eco-friendly actions:

  • Customers who bring their own tumbler/cup receive a 25p discount.
  • Waste separation in stores.
  • New cup recycling bins for any coffee stores takeaway cups.
  • Investing in creating easily recyclable takeaway cups.

Taylor Street Barista (3.5/5)

Sustainability:

  • Their milk is sourced from Yeovalley, an ethical British milk company.
  • All their coffee is sustainably sourced and cover costs above the fairtrade premium price.

Eco-friendly actions:

  • Give coffee waste to biobean, to make coffee logs and pellets to fuel biomass boilers.
  • Their cups are currently recyclable, however due to no one recycling/composting these, they end up in landfills. However they are actively seeking out biodegradable alternatives, to avoid this issue.

As I said this is not a name and shame, this post is intended as a think piece, to try and make more conscious decisions.

Now this is by no means extensive, I’d love to know more cafe’s you know are doing their bit! After researching this, I’ve got a huge list of cafés (including planet organic) that I have to visit!

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2 thoughts on “Do my favourite London cafés have a conscious?

  1. Very interesting to read. I keep trying to persuade my kids that they don’t need straws and explaining why straws are bad, but they haven’t been converted yet

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