We'll say it out loud first:
Bird & Wild's coffee bag packaging is not currently recyclable (there is better news below though).
The combination of metal and plastic laminate makes it very hard to recycle and, much like supermarket wrapping etc, has to be put in the general refuse bin currently.
Unfortunately, this is the same for 99% of coffee brands right now - coffee bag packaging is not recyclable.
Why is this?
Coffee is a fresh product and can degrade and stale much like any food or drink product, think bread, fruit, etc.
For Bird & Wild to be available on the retail shelf, we need to guarantee long shelf times, so that no coffee is wasted by the retailer. It's the reality.
In order to do that, we freshly roast our coffee beans straight into the bag and seal it, so that it's stored in a protected non-porous environment allowing for your fresh coffee to sold by retailers.
This is where the metal-plastic laminate comes in. Oxygen is a killer of coffee freshness, so the environment needs to be completely non-porous.
There's also another factor at play: one-way valves.
When coffee is roasted, it emits gases for up to 72 hours.
If we packed the coffee in a bag and then sealed it up, it would explode because of the excess gas that builds up after roasting.
So, a coffee one-way valve is required to allow this excess gas to escape, but to ensure that no oxygen to come back in.
As a result, you can enjoy the fresh taste of Bird & Wild Coffee for months after purchasing and it's a reality that, in order to supply customers, we need to have a reasonably long shelf life.
The combination of a one-way valve and the metal-plastic laminate make it very hard to recycle currently.
The Good News?
Our expertise is coffee sourcing and roasting - not packaging, which is manufactured by packaging companies, but the good news is that the packaging industry is at last coming up with solutions.
We have been meeting and testing various options and we believe that by mid-2020 we will have a fully recyclable solution.
**COVID UPDATE** - This Summer target has sadly been put back until the end of 2020. Because of the international nature of coffee packaging manufacturing (none of it is made in the UK - mostly Greece, Israel and China), lead times are completely delayed.
All coffee companies are struggling with this problem and it's the talk of the town among coffee insiders.
We desperately want to do more, but need to wait until we have the packaging options supplied to us by the packaging industry.
It's happening - please be a little more patient - we can't wait to roll-out recyclable packaging! It's very tricky!
Environmental Programs at the Roastery
Roaster Catalytic Converter - converts CO into CO2
Chaff Compactor - reduces the waste disposal of the Chaff and therefore the carbon footprint of Trucks / Skips
Heat Generation from the Roasters - is used to warm the factory reducing the energy usage
Hessian & Jute Coffee Bags - are sold to Farming industry, Retail industry and into Recycling
Lighting - the whole facility is converted into using energy efficient LEDs