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 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. In Cardiff, biodegradeable coffee cups are helping to tackle the problem.
Keen to enjoy the delights of a hot, take-away coffee with less of the eco-guilt? Taking and using a reusable coffee mug is always the best plan, but here are some local spots in Cardiff where you can pick up your daily caffeine fix with a cleaner, greener conscience – provided you dispose of the biodegradeable cups correctly, which (because Cardiff Council don’t currently accept these cups in food waste OR recycling bags) means taking them home and adding to your home composting pile.
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(pictured above). 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). Their beans come from Coaltown Coffee, a Welsh roastery that focuses on direct trade with small farms and who are “driven by remaining ethical”.
This uber-instagrammable vegan bakery & coffee shop has recently opened on Mackintosh Place in Roath. Head here for vegan cakes and cosy hot drinks, and if you’re feeling indulgent, give one of their fried doughnuts topped with maple roasted “bacon” flakes a try. They use Vegware take-out coffee cups (meaning they are biodegradeable can be composted at home).
The Little Man Coffee Co
Serving Coffee from a variety of Welsh roasters, Little Man Coffee is a favourite with the creative community of Cardiff. The venue plays host to regular craft events, talks and open mic nights, and has a basement space with a projector, making it perfect for film screenings and pop ups (like this one). Their take-out cups are fully compostable at home.
Located just a stone’s throw from my new house, this traditional, Victorian-looking 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.
…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? It’s the most eco-friendly too!
Since they opened the doors to their little shop / deli / cafe 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. They can be spotted serving barista coffee and ice cream all over Cardiff. Meanwhile their pop-up ‘Brew Bar’ is currently situated in-house at The Grazing Shed on St Marys Street. At all of their locations, biodegradable cups are always used.
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 take-out coffee 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
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!
This ambitious multi-artform centre was founded by local artists over 40 years ago. Now it’s a mecca for laptop-carrying freelancers, men with trendy beards and yummy mummies. It houses a fully stocked bar and restaurant on site, serving craft beers, seasonal produce and coffee-to-go served in plant-based cups which biodegrade in your home composting bin in 8 – 12 weeks.
Corner Coffee Co
Newly opened where Atlantic Coffee used to be (High Street in the city centre) this little coffee shop is a minimalist’s dream. They also serve a great oat milk latte, although I am still not sure about drinking coffee from a glass, as is the drink-in option. Takeouts always use the biodegradable cups.
The most eco friendly option…
Want the most eco-friendly way to carry your own coffee from home or get take out coffee from anywhere you like? Surfers Against Sewage are selling these nifty reusable bamboo coffee cups for £12 each. The cups are created from the world’s fastest growing, most sustainable crop – naturally organic, naturally sterile bamboo fibre. They utilise a lower- energy, lower-CO2 emissions manufacturing process, and are BPA and phthalate free. Even better still, when you’re eventually done with one, you can simply crush it, soak it in hot water and bury it with your organic compost in the garden. The silicone lid and sleeve are made from bonded silica, and can be recycled with green bag, council recycling.
Read more about Hugh’s coffee-cup campaign, here.
Know anywhere else in Cardiff serving biodegradeable coffee cups? Let me know in the comments below.