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Green Living Blog: Tea, coffee and chocolate

Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Green Living Blog: Tea, coffee and chocolate

Green Living Blog logo After reading this post, don't forget to enter our contest – you could win a new dishwasher. Plus, do you have your own story to tell? Send it to greenchallenge@canadianliving.com (no more than 300 words, please), and you could win one of 30 daily prizes. For me, eating locally and with the seasons comes fairly easily – fruits and vegetables that are local and in season taste so much better than the imports that I'm willing to wait it out. The challenge comes when I consider giving up those imports that never come into season in this northern climate: tropical fruits are the big one for me. A life without mangoes, pineapple, bananas and kiwifruit seems a sad one indeed. But if you had to ask most Canadians what imported crop they'd be least likely to give up, it would have to be one of the world's favourite caffeinated treats: tea, coffee or chocolate. So how can you make your consumption of these goods easier on the environment to balance out all those food miles? Here are some suggestions. 1. Go organic whenever you can. Remember that your personal health isn't the only reason to choose organically grown produce; the health of the land where it's grown and the workers who cultivate it is important as well. And, sadly, tea, coffee and cocoa beans are often grown in parts of the world with far less stringent standards of pesticide use than we have here in Canada. 2. Choose minimal packaging. If you can buy tea, coffee or chocolate in bulk, do so. Bring your own bag to the store and fill it there, then bring it back the next time. You can transfer it to a jar at home. 3. Use eco-friendly coffee filters. Maybe for you this means unbleached, maybe it means reusable, or perhaps you can make coffee in a stovetop percolator that doesn't use a filter. 4. Choose loose tea over tea bags. The laziness factor definitely kicks in here (I'm guilty, I admit it), but if you can avoid tea bags you're saving a lot of waste, both at the production end (less resources needed when packaging the tea) and at your end. I like to make my loose tea in a Bodum – I'm not a big fan of tea leaves floating in my mug. And if you do use a tea bag, compost it. 5. Bring your own mug. Are you a takeout addict? Listen to that guilt you feel every time you throw a paper coffee cup in the garbage. Use your own mug at work and when you're on the go, and if your drink's not to go, ask the coffee shop if they have ceramic mugs you can drink it in. 6. Choose quality over quantity. Less is more when it comes to good-quality tea, coffee or chocolate. Buy the good stuff and you'll find yourself satisfied with less. What did I miss? Share your thoughts in the comments. Today's code word: coffee Read more: • 19 eco-friendly gift ideasKnit a coffee cup sleeve
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Green Living Blog: Tea, coffee and chocolate

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