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Poured Coffee: a rave by Heather Wilson

Love the coffee, hate the waste

I love my Toronto neighbourhood – it’s bursting with great neighbours and eclectic stores. One of the local retailers I’ve really come to appreciate is Poured Coffee. Not only do I like the way they make their misto, my favourite specialty coffee, but I also admire their desire to sell coffee differently.

It’s hard to imagine a coffee shop without takeout containers but Poured Coffee decided that selling coffee should not automatically mean contributing to the mountain of single-use coffee cups disposed of every year. If you want coffee to go and you don’t have a refillable cup with you, they will provide you with a mug and require a deposit. They use refillable glass bottles for their milk and cream and their coffee beans are delivered in reusable food grade containers.

And the impact? For one thing, research shows that using reusable cups vs. disposables has a significant impact on reducing carbon emissions. And, takeout coffee cups are notoriously unrecyclable. Between 1.6 and 2 billion disposable coffee cups are thought to be thrown out every year in Canada. By doing things differently, Poured Coffee estimates that it diverted a whopping 29,757 disposable cups from landfills in its first year of operation.

Part of the coffee shop is also given over to a retail outlet, The RE Place, with a refilling station and other products designed to have a lower impact on the environment. The intent is to “make eco-living accessible” by sourcing products with eco-friendly ingredients, reducing waste and facilitating knowledge sharing. The store also tries to find its products close to home in order to reduce carbon emissions.

It certainly would have been easier for this new business to forego the idea of reuse, especially for its coffee to-go, as it sought to establish itself and build its customer base. But by taking a stand, Poured Coffee distinguishes itself in our neighbourhood as a leader and provides an example of how we can “pivot green”. And, oh yeah, the coffee’s great.

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