Pumpkin spice latte season is here! Could this seasonal favorite be harming the season it has become such a big part of? Don’t worry you won’t have to ditch your PSL.
Autumn has reached Oklahoma. The weather has cooled off, the trees are changing color, people are putting pumpkins and mums on their porches, and pumpkin spice lattes are being consumed.
Our social media is once again being flooded with pictures of people’s coffee cup. And now there is pumpkin spice everything, even pumpkin spice protein powder!
Pumpkin spice lattes may signal the start of the autumn season for some but all those lattes are having an impact on the planet and could harm the very season they are apart of.
How Your Pumpkin Spice Latte is Hurting the Planet
Those coffee cups we love to take photos of and post them on Instagram are having a big impact on the planet. We throw away 2.5 billion of them every year.
Even when you think you are recycling them you likely aren’t. Disposable coffee cups may look like paper but they are lined with plastic which makes them almost impossible to recycle. The plastic lids can often be recycled but they rarely are.
The coffee itself also has a big impact. We drink a lot of the stuff, 400 billion cups a year to be exact.
This large demand for coffee has lead to the need to grow a lot more coffee beans. Traditional coffee growing methods involved growing the coffee under the canopy of trees in tropical areas.
This way of growing coffee encouraged biodiversity. Because the canopy provided habitat for indigenous animals and insects and protected the topsoil there was no need for chemical fertilizers.
In order to grow more coffee sun cultivation was introduced. In this method, forests are cleared and coffee is grown in a monoculture. This means there is a need for fertilizers and also takes away valuable habitats for native species.
It also has caused a lot of deforestation. Over 2.5 million acres have been cleared in Central America alone!
These are just a few of the ways pumpkin spice lattes and our coffee consumption, in general, is harming the environment. We can still enjoy our coffee though with less guilt.
Less-Guilt Pumpkin Spice Lattes
- Drink Fair Trade coffee. Fair Trade coffee uses better cultivation technics and makes sure the farmers get fair wages and safe working conditions. Even some coffee shops are making the switch so check to see if your local coffee shop uses Fair Trade coffee. If not you can suggest that they start.
- Make your pumpkin spice latte at home. At home, you can use a real cup and Fair Trade coffee. You can even make it vegan-friendly with some homemade vegan pumpkin pie creamer. Just be sure to skip the K-cups which create a lot of waste.
- Use a Reusable Mug. If you are drinking coffee out be sure to bring your own mug. Many local coffee shops also offer real cups if you are drinking your coffee there.
These small changes can make a big impact and help us save autumn. Pumpkin spice lattes may be a favorite of the season but there is much more to autumn and we want it to stick around.
Looking for more fun things to do other than just drinking pumpkin spice lattes? Check out this list of 7 fun things to do this fall in Oklahoma.