In preparation for our Coffee & Sustainability Brew School this month, we created this flow chart detailing our waste streams both on the producer/farmer end and on our end as the roaster and cafe.
Overarching across this flow chart is the idea of opportunity cost:
"An opportunity cost is a benefit, profit, or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else. Since every resource (land, money, time, etc.) can be put to alternative uses, every action, choice, or decision has an associated opportunity cost. Opportunity costs are fundamental costs in economics, and are used in computing cost benefit analysis of a project." - courtesy of BusinessDictionary.com
This, in our case, means that we must weigh the economic cost of our decisions against the environmental cost. In other words, we must make decisions that are both business friendly and friendly to the environment. It does not benefit anyone if we shut down as a business because we made fiscally irresponsible choices based solely around environmental sustainability. Our business exists to roast and serve high-quality coffee in a sustainable way - meaning for the environment (low waste, energy efficient), for our staff (paying thriving wages), and for our bottom line (making a small margin for our ownership team).