Here's a simple way to reduce your daily waste stream: use reusable coffee filters! You can also use filterless systems, permanent reusable filters, or a french press, but some people prefer the taste of coffee that has been filtered. The great news...you can make one in less than 10 minutes with minimal sewing experience (and save some trees while you're at it)!
(Note: this tutorial is for the cone shaped filters. I haven't experimented with the basket shaped ones yet!)
Using your existing paper filter as a pattern, place one edge along a folded piece of pre-washed NATURAL 100% cotton muslin (avoid bleached or dyed materials). Add an extra 1" along the top edge if you want a finished edge.
You will wind up with something like this when it's unfolded.
Sew a hem along the top edge of the open fabric (if desired) - I made my first one without any hem and it works perfectly fine!!
Fold your filter in half again on the fold line (with right sides together if you've done a hem. If no hem, it doesn't matter which side is out). Sew along the 2 open edge seams.
... and PRESTO CHANGO, you have a new 100% reusable coffee filter!
Here is the finished product (less than 5 minutes start to finish!). Use the finished side IN so that the coffee grounds don't get stuck in the seam.
Here's my original one after a few week's use (notice my un-finished edge still is working fine, just not as pretty!). Just rinse out, and lay out to dry. It dries very quickly and ready to use again the next day, however having two is probably better to rotate through. Since it's cotton, you can also machine wash and dry it if you want to.
My husband is the coffee drinker in our house, and I'm the greenie - so we make a perfect pair with this set up! He says he's never had grounds in his coffee, it tastes great, and is so easy to rinse out. It stays put in the coffee maker and we have no waste after composting the grounds. Give it a try! (I was going for function and ease over looks, but you could add seam binding or a straighter hem to the top for a finished look as well. :)
If you are lacking in the sewing skills area or are without a machine, search for reusable coffee filters online. My sister said they used something called a "coffee sock" when living in Costa Rica which was basically the same idea, just without the coffee pot. So, not such a unique idea, but easily implemented nonetheless!