Most people (including this guy) were pretty shocked when Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recently revealed that 2.5 billion “paper” coffee cups are being thrown away – and not recycled – in the UK every year . That’s almost 5,000 a minute, or 7 million per day. This is because hardly any of them are actually able to be recycled in our local plants – despite what the likes of Costa and Starbucks would have you believe.
That can’t keep happening. We’ll need a frigging extra continent just to hold all of our discarded latte cups if we keep going at this rate.
If you’re keen to enjoy the delights of a take-away coffee without the Eco-guilt, here are some local spots in Cardiff where you can pick up your daily caffeine fix with a clean, green conscience.
Brodies Cofffe Cabin
After being rescued from dereliction by coffee-loving-couple Ian and Danni, a former gardener’s hut in Gorsedd Gardens is now the permanent home of Brodie’s Coffee Co. It trumps Lufkin for the title of Cardiff’s tiniest coffee shop, and wins my vote for most picturesque, too! They use compostable cups (made by vegware) and stock freshly made sandwiches from the local Pettigrew Bakery (more on them below), whilst their beans come from Coaltown Coffee in Ammanford, a Welsh roastery that focuses on direct trade with small farms from across the coffee belt and who are “driven by remaining ethical”.
The Little Man Coffee Co
Serving Coffee from a variety of Welsh roasters, Little Man Coffee is a favourite amongst the creative community of Cardiff. The venue plays host to regular craft events, talks and open mic nights, and it even has a basement space with projector, making it perfect for film screenings and cool pop ups (like this one from street-food faves, Brother Thai). Oh, and their take-out cups are fully compostable!
Located just a stone’s throw from my new house, this traditional, Victorian-looking local bakery wouldn’t look out of place in the St Fagan’s Museum of Welsh Life. Whilst the style may be (purposefully) old-fashioned, everything else about this place is forward thinking – from offering a 5% discount to bakery customers who shop with their reusable jute bags, to using compostable vegware cups here – and in the tearooms (see below) – since 2012.
We don't just do Tea but are also proud of our delightful coffee that is roasted in Herefordshire. pic.twitter.com/tqy6i724me
— Pettigrew Tea Rooms (@PettigrewTea) February 22, 2016
…they don’t just do tea! They also do Chai lattes, Hot Chocolates, and all of the usual incarnations of coffee (including a decaf option). Although, why would you choose an Americano-to-go, over lingering in the park with some proper china to drink from?
Since they opened the doors to their little shop / deli / cafe (all of the above) in 2013, Penylan Pantry owners Jo and Mel have been setting the standard in sustainability. It comes as no surprise to learn that they have been using biodegradable coffee cups since day one, and say they are ‘surprised’ at the amount of businesses still not doing enough to reduce, re-use and recycle. Keep it up ladies!
These pedal-powered trikes are the brainchild of two coffee and cycling-loving friends, Chris and Dan, and they can be spotted serving barista coffee and ice cream all over Cardiff. Meanwhile their pop-up ‘Brew Bar’ & ‘Waffle Bar’ is currently situated in-house at The Grazing Shed burger restaurant on St Marys Street. At all of their locations, biodegradable cups are always used – sourced online from Cups Direct.
— Kemi's Pontcanna (@Kemispontcanna) November 16, 2016
Not only do they do arguably the best ‘salad’ in Cardiff, the lovely people at Kemi’s Cafe and Cookery School in Pontcanna also provide coffee to go in biodegradeable cups. If you haven’t sampled a salad plate or an onion bhaji scotch egg from here yet, you need to sort your life out.
Deli a GoGo
— Deli a GoGo Whitchur (@DeliaGoGo) August 13, 2016
This local deli in Witchurch has been using biodegradable packaging since the day they first opened in 2011. Pop in for a freshly brewed coffee but give in to temptation and leave with a cracking sausage sandwich, courtesy of Charcutier Ltd. Breakfast of kings!
— Chapter Cafe-Bar (@chapter_eats) September 2, 2016
An ambitious multi-artform centre which was founded by local artists over 40 years ago, and these days manages to mix hard-hitting drama and performance art with family shows, comedy and arty cinema. There’s also a fully stocked bar and restaurant on site, serving craft beers, seasonal produce and coffee-to-go served in plant-based cups.
And finally, in your home?
Want an eco-friendly way to carry your own coffee from home? Surfers Against Sewage, a charity who campaign for cleaner seas and a lobby for the introduction of a ‘deposit return’ scheme in the UK, are selling these nifty reusable bamboo coffee cups for £12 each.
Created from the world’s fastest growing, most sustainable crop – naturally organic, naturally sterile bamboo fibre – and utilising a lower- energy, lower-CO2 emissions manufacturing process, the cup is BPA and phthalate free and doesn’t contain petrochemical plastic. Even better still, when you’re eventually done with it, you can simply crush it, soak it in hot water and bury it with your organic compost. The silicone lid and sleeve are made from bonded silica, and can be recycled with curb side recycling.
Read more about Hugh’s coffee-cup campaign, here.