As sustainable coffee roasters, we want to do everything we can to ensure that our coffee helps both the planet and the people living on it. Right now we’re planting trees with Ecologi, donating to water charity Project Waterfall, and sourcing ethically-traded coffee. And now we’ve adopted a new way to make our coffee even more sustainable!
So next time you get a bag of Balance Coffee, you might notice something a bit different…
We are excited to announce that our packaging is now 100% recyclable! Every part can be completely recycled at home, including the valve and zipper. This is a goal that we’ve had since starting Balance Coffee, so when we had the opportunity to switch to recyclable packaging, it was a no-brainer!
Our bags of sustainable coffee still have all of the important features of our last packaging, such as the one-way air valve which keeps the coffee fresh. This valve is important because it allows carbon dioxide to pass through and out of the bag, without allowing any oxygen in. This is necessary because when coffee beans are roasted, they release carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Allowing the carbon dioxide to leave the bag without letting air in (a process known as de-gassing) keeps the coffee fresh because when the beans are exposed to oxygen, they start to go stale.
Furthermore, our new packaging is still perfectly designed to keep moisture away from the beans (which will also make them go stale). It still also has our lovely branding, plus important information such as the region where the coffee beans were grown, the date that the coffee was roasted and other details. These will help you to discover new favourite regions, as well as ensure that the coffee is drunk within 3 months of roasting.
Why this is so important
But to fully understand why we’re so excited about our new recyclable packaging, you need to think about the environmental impact of coffee as a whole. As you can see, packaging makes up 3% of the carbon footprint of the production and preparation chain of filter coffee.
This doesn’t sound like a lot – but packaging plays an extremely important role. It is the main way that our delicious coffee beans are protected from elements like moisture and oxygen. If our packaging doesn’t protect the coffee, then all of the coffee chain goes wasted, including the months of cultivation, the processing, the roasting and the transportation. All of the unavoidable carbon output will have been for nothing!
But we wanted our sustainable packaging to go beyond just protecting the coffee. We wanted to ensure that our packaging wasn’t also contributing to landfill or other harmful environmental practices. There’s a couple reasons why this is so important:
- When plastics break down in landfill, they turn into microplastics. These make their way into everything, including the ocean, the air, and even wildlife. They also contain toxins that end up in soil and water, which turn into environmental hazards. Obviously we do not want our packaging to end up hurting the environment that we are so committed to saving!
- When organic materials (like coffee beans) are put in landfill, this makes the situation even worse. When they’re compacted and covered, this removes any oxygen and causes it to break down in an anaerobic process. This releases methane, which is a greenhouse gas that is around 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And there’s a lot of it – a typical landfill site produces enough methane to fuel a power station. We don’t want to take the risk that our coffee contributes to any of these harmful effects.
- Because of all the gases created in landfills, they also pose a huge fire risk. Methane is highly combustible! And if there is a fire, firefighters will use foam instead of water to fight it, due to the fact they don’t know what chemicals they are dealing with. This makes the chemical footprint of a landfill site even worse.
- When the packaging is properly recycled, it turns into a valuable raw material! It can be used to create new plastic products, or even as a source of energy. Using the raw material twice is a smart thing to do and luckily this is now possible with our packaging.
What you need to do to help
We encourage you to make sure that your coffee bags are put into your recycling rather than the bin! Check what you can recycle at home or locally, as different areas of the UK have different recycling options.
You could also explore what you could do with the coffee bags yourself! For example, they would be perfect for planting seeds. Simply make a few holes in the bottom of the bag, fill with soil and plant some seeds. A standard 250g coffee bag holds almost the same amount of soil as a small to medium sized plant pot. Not only will you save some money but after your plants have grown enough to be planted in your garden, the bag can be reused again and again.
(And don’t forget, you can repurpose used coffee grounds too!)
We love our sustainable coffee can now come to you in sustainable packaging. We’re so pleased with it and we hope that you will be too!
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