Strange as it is, apart from receiving delicious green coffee on pallets,
I literally jump with joy (happy awkward dance) upon the the delivery of our new recyclable coffee bags!
Coffee bag packaging is so close to my heart, please allow me to explain why…
We must first talk about how the majority of coffee bag industry is overrun with metal foil laminate on the inside of the bags, used as a barrier for air where it was primarily developed for the big supermarket ground coffee industry -normally with a long 2 year expiration date stamped. But since then the specialty coffee industry has made known that coffee is indeed an organic product, it has its own optimum tasting range and has a shorter shelf life if to be enjoyed at its peak aroma and natural flavour.
Before we started Light Coffee, I have had the privilege to work under two different roasting companies from 2011 as a barista, coffee packer, retail manager, quality control, and indeed roasting delicious coffees. Through out this journey, the “coffee packer” job descriptor has always remained with me. For years, weeks in and out I would order and receive large boxes filled with none recyclable foiled coffee bags. They were indeed heavy boxes to carry from one end of the roastery to the the other.
Now any good coffee packer would know the weight of their coffee bags by heart:
250 grams bag weighs 12.5 grams
12.5 grams x 1000 pieces in a box = 12.5 kg
1 kg bags weighs 25-30 grams
25 grams x 1000 pieces in a box = 25 kg
3 kg bags weighs 50-60 grams
50 grams x 500 pieces in a box = 25 kg
To the one customer it may only be one or two bags a week, but every little thing adds up. Seeing how coffee bags have been going to landfill is a very disheartening thing especially when I honesty believe we all still want the polar bears to be forever with us.
The regular close encounters with heavy lifting the foiled packaging, made it feel real. And it weighed my heart down to be contributing to landfill, so since the very beginning of Light Coffee, we have researched and enquired to source coffee bags that are environmentally friendly/recyclable. However we were unable to do so from the start as demand for more environmental friendly alternative was not there, at least not until recent years. The packaging industry didn't have enough demand from small scale coffee roasters, and back then the only way to have recyclable bags was to have them custom made. A choice the bigger guys were able to do with minimum orders of 10,000+ per bag size, and with that came boxes and boxes of storage space as a prerequisite; an option that is often out of reach for the small boutiques.
We have also decided for the meantime not to go down the compostable bag direction as they still require separation of different bag components, and not everyone has a compost bin in their back yard nor have easy access to commercial facilities to compost, and would often need to dispose of the inner plastic layers after the outer layers has been composted.
We are so happy our coffee bag supplier decided to stock these 100% recyclable bags, securing freshness and flavour, also allowing us to order them in small batches, without the need to worry about storage and upfront costs.
Our new bags which are made in Taiwan from 100% LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene), means that it is recyclable and can be recycled by SOFT PLASTIC recycling services without having to separate different layers/valve of the bags.
Please see the below link for some of the services that is available at the check out of your nearest supermarket:
AUSTRALIA NATIONAL WIDE :
We hope one day to bring you truly sustainable packaging solutions, before then we will continue to find ways to reduce our impact on our environment working along with our coffee/cafe professionals friends. Thank you again for joining us on this journey, please enjoy our delicious coffee from the new bags!
SIDE NOTE -
Our consideration for all the retail bags components analysed as follows:
● 100% Soft recyclable (number 4 LDPE made in Taiwan)
● One way valve (degas oneway, block air coming in)
● Zipper ripper (for when you are desperate for your coffee and can’t find a pair of scissors)
● Zip lock (to keep your coffee beans fresh once opened)
● Recyclable paper stock - FSC® Mix Certified card stock from Europe, crafted from cotton fibres+ recycled content (beautiful texture)
● Reuseable/ recyclable pin - stainless steel (classy and multi-use)
● Printed in house - Print on demand (to reduce wastage from minimum print run at printing companies)