In the specialty coffee industry we talk a lot about sustainability and the circular economy. However, when it comes to the topic of coffee packaging, we pose ourselves many questions. We often see that coffee bags, i.e. its first layer, is plastic and the second layer contains aluminum foil inside. If we continue to use these packaging we won't meet any principle of sustainability, recycling, biodegradability and the circular economy.
The Karibu Kaaawa team has always been thinking about sustainability and circular economy. Following that thought, we've decided to provide our monthly coffee subscribers with 100% recyclable bags of coffee for the month of April.
To learn more on this topic we need to be aware that packaging accounts for around 3% of the coffee supply chain’s total carbon footprint. If plastic packaging isn’t properly sourced, produced, transported, and discarded, it can be detrimental for the environment.
However, many don't know that roasted coffee beans are porous and absorb moisture quickly. Also, coffee shouldn't be in contact with air and light. Any wrong step in the packaging or poor quality packaging will contribute to the bad taste of your cup of coffee. Coffee should therefore be hermetically packed in a moisture-resistant packaging.
So how can you make sure your packaging meets all these conditions while being as sustainable as possible?
For the above mentioned reasons, it is preferable that packages are multilayered, with a minimum of two layers. However, multilayer structures can make things confusing – especially for the end-user. When there are two different materials in the same packaging, often they will have to be separated for correct recycling and disposal.
Many packaging companies do research and development in the area of biodegradable packaging. Options that are being considered include cornstarch, sugarcane, cellulose, and wood pulp, as well as various other forms of organic matter. However, 100% biodegradable or compostable packaging options just aren’t available yet. Only around 60% of the material used to make these coffee bags will break down. The remaining 40% consists of non-biodegradable layers, degassing valves, and sealing systems, which need to be removed and separately placed in the corresponding bin.
For all these reasons, it is currently better to use recyclable coffee bags (those that are 100% recyclable) than those that are biodegradable.
The coffee that we ordered for our coffee subscribers in April is packed in 100% recyclable bags, so you can dispose them within plastics bins. We hope our customers will be delighted not only with the coffee flavour but also with the ecological aspect of this story.
We love to be pioneers in green movements and soon we will reveal more on our new project - you will be able to buy coffee in our coffee shop and reuse whole packaging and do 100% ecological footprint for our planet.
Enjoy your coffee!☕