With the planet heading towards global warming at such a high pace, it is more important than ever to incorporate eco-friendly habits into my lifestyle. Although a single action may not seem like it makes much of a difference, little changes add up in the long run. Whether you are designing a building or mass producing in industries, this is one thing more and more people are beginning to implement.
So what can you do as a coffee enthusiast? Recalling the three R’s you learned in kindergarten, there’s a lot you can do to save the planet. If you have a nice big backyard in your house, you can grow a lot of your own food. That’s the first step towards working for the environment.
You should know that most of the food I consume is biodegradable., which means that it can be decomposed by bacteria to avoid pollution. If you have a garden, you can also make a compost. And if you already have one, you probably put coffee in it as well.
But wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear that you could also make use of your coffee filter? You heard it right! However, various factors determine the compostability of the coffee filters you use. So what are you waiting for? Continue reading to find out!
What Type of Coffee Filters Are Compostable?
Composting is a great way to help the environment and create nutrient-rich soil to help your plants grow. If you’re a daily coffee drinker who brews with a machine, you probably use coffee filters. The most common option for a pour-over or drip machine is a single-use paper filter that you throw out afterward.
Imagine the negative impact you’d be having on the environment if you don’t quickly find a way to put this waste to use. Well, I’m here to tell you that the paper coffee filters are easily decomposed and provide maximum energy. It is also an excellent way to reduce the unpleasant odors in your compost bin.
There are, however, a few things you need to keep in mind. Most of the paper filters usually sold in stores are bleached and made with many chemicals. So if you’re someone who aims to create a wholly organic compost, opting for the brown coffee filters instead would be the wiser choice.
Brown is the natural color of paper. So, the brown filters are better for the environment and require less time to decompose. But that is also why they give a papery taste to your drink. You can solve this problem by thoroughly wetting the filter before brewing. This step also eliminates any bacteria that would have been present otherwise.
You can bleach the paper filters with chlorine or oxygen. The oxygen method is healthier than the former, but it is also more expensive. Bleached or not bleached, the compostability of paper does not change whatsoever. It is the quality that determines the richness of your compost.
Coffee Filters You Should Avoid
Non-paper coffee filters should not go in your compost bin. Plastic, cloth, or even metal cannot be decomposed and do not contain the nutrients that your plants require.
Note: If you don’t compost but still want to help the environment, consider switching to a reusable metal filter instead of single-use paper or plastic ones.
On the other hand, you should always avoid plastic coffee filters. They take millions of years to decompose, and you can only use them a limited number of times before they lose their effectiveness.
While cloth filters have a negligible impact on the planet, they are not very convenient to use. They are hard to clean and often hold onto the flavor, which is not too good for your health.
Certain types of paper filters are also non-decomposable. They usually come with a ring made of a rigid and often a non-degradable material. The role of the ring is to enhance the stability of the paper filter when brewing coffee. Although they are not very common on the market, it is still best to avoid them when you do come across a pack.
Steps to Compost Your Coffee Filters
Although you could just toss the filter into the compost bin and be done with it, for an optimal impact, follow these tips:
Don’t Throw Away the Grounds
Perhaps out of habit, you have learned to toss out the used coffee grounds. But you must know that they too are filled with immense amounts of nutrients beneficial for the growth of your plants. Therefore, don’t empty your coffee filter before putting it in your compost bin.
Cut It Into Smaller Pieces
You must know the finer the coffee grounds, the easier it is to extract its flavors. Composting works the same. Cutting your filter up into tiny pieces makes it easier to decompose. Make sure to handle it with care to avoid burning your hands, as it might still be hot when you first take it out of your coffee machine.
Throw It in the Compost Right Away
If you’re thinking of collecting a good amount of coffee filters before adding them to your compost, I would advise otherwise. You cannot make compost by only using coffee grounds and filters. Adding them in bulk would reduce the number of nutrients and destroy their quality.
For all nature lovers, composting at home can be very therapeutic. The time required for decomposition depends on how you go about the process. Generally, it takes about two weeks to eight months.
But you can also increase the degradation process yourself by including wet ingredients in the bin instead of dry. Or you can mix the compost thoroughly after every week or so. You can also add worms to break down all the components faster than usual.
Although going green can seem daunting at first, it soon becomes second nature, and the impact on my environment is absolutely worth it.