Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Green the office coffee station

Okay, yes, I drink my coffee at home now - but as someone who spent years in a variety of office parks doing design for major companies, I know a thing or two about the Office Coffee Station. It seems that everyone does them differently - some serve great coffee, some serve this odd sludge; some have plenty of reusable dishes available for use, others make you use styrofoam (gasp!), or those individual plastic cups of grounds (which I personally refuse to use).

So how do you up the green factor in the office coffee/lunch station?

From what I've noticed, the goal in greening office areas is to make it very easy for folks to make greener choices (i.e. without really noticing a difference); otherwise, you create a situation that a busy manager, for example, can't deal with, and you end up with folks opting for Starbucks instead of drinking coffee in the office. The goal is to give people plenty of options, so it's easy to make the right choice.

My thoughts (and these are just thoughts, mind):
• unbleached, biodegradable coffee/tea filters;
• clearly marked compost bins (with signs that say "coffee grounds/teabags go here") that are emptied daily by someone (to avoid nasty odors);
• provide plenty of reusable mugs and glasses for folks (can't count on people to bring their own) - refuse to use paper/plastic cups;
• choose fair trade coffee/tea (but expect that a few folks are going to randomly bring in their Lipton);
• choose local dairy from smaller farms (most use organic practices, even if they aren't certified) in cartons rather than the little "mini-moos" so many office parks are stocked with;
• raw sugar in a jar instead of sugar packets;
• plenty of reusable spoons/silverware (this is especially handy if the coffee area is also a lunch-storage area, as many are).

And of course, on an individual level, you can just opt to bring your own coffee in a travel mug each morning - which is actually preferable to the coffee in some offices (ahem!).

So what do you think? How many things can you add to this list?

1 comment:

niki said...

ive been putting agave nectar in my coffee - not as sweet as sugar but much more delicious!

also, i got rid of my coffee pot that took filters and got one of those goldish basket things. much more green :D