Reusable coffee filters can help environment, save money

Janice Daniels

It seems the same students who complain about their lack of money are the same ones who buy coffee on a daily basis.

On campus, coffee prices range anywhere from 50 cents to nearly $5 which, if bought everyday, can rack up to $15 to $150 every month. That could be a good supply of toilet paper or even a few weeks of groceries, if spent wisely.

Not only can buying coffee daily put a hole in your pocket, but it can also affect the environment in ways many people don’t think about. On, a local Sacramento resident blogs on how to go about living sustainably and how daily coffee purchases affect the environment. It states in 2010, Americans consumed about 23 billion paper coffee cups. Along with those numbers, about 10 million people consume at least $20 per week on coffee, which adds up to $80 per month and $960 a per year. Could you imagine having an extra $960 to spend?

Why not do something which will save money and benefit the environment, such as buying your own coffee maker, coffee and reusable coffee filters – because we all know those disposable coffee filters cannot be too beneficial to the environment either. If you do not have a reusable coffee filter on hand or cannot afford one because of all the money you spend on coffee, this is the tutorial for you.

What you need:


Cotton, hemp or muslin fabric

Needle and thread

Sewing pins

Step One

The first thing you want to do is find some cotton, hemp or muslin fabric. This could be from an old article of clothing, pillowcases or anything else. It is also a good idea to use busy, darker fabric since the coffee will most likely stain it. I used a dark maroon-colored cotton for the bottom part of the filter – a fabric which I got at JoAnn’s – and a paisley-patterned fabric with dark colors, which came from an old sheet, for the walls of the filter.

Step Two

Next, get a paper coffee filter, cut a slit down the side of it, and then cut out its center circle. These pieces will be the patterns you use to get the right shape and sized coffee filter. After those pieces are cut, place them on top of the fabric, as shown below.

Step Three

After the filter pattern is pinned to the fabric, cut around the edges of the filter pattern to replicate its shape with the fabric. After that is done you should have a round, “C” shaped piece and a circle shaped piece.

Step Four

Remove the paper from the fabric. Now, take the round “C” shape, flip it over to the plain side, and sew the gap shut with a seam about ½ inch from the top. Tie off the end. What used to be a round “C” shape should now be a doughnut shape.

Step Five

Take the round piece and cover the hole of the doughnut shape, pinning it in place around the edges. After it is placed, sew around the edges of the round piece, attaching it to the doughnut shape. After tying off the thread, it should look similar to the image on the bottom right.

Flip the piece over and voila! You now have a reusable coffee filter which will fit nicely into most coffee pots.

Janice Daniels can be reached at [email protected]